Why Protecting Your Brand (and Other IP) is So Important in Today’s Inflationary Economy

June 1, 2022 Michael Steinmetz
Intellectual Property

Everything is getting more expensive, from automobiles and real estate to coffee, cosmetics, and other products on retail shelves. In 2021 we saw the most significant increase in the consumer price index – 7 percent – in nearly 40 years.

While today’s inflationary economy is causing problems for some businesses, many companies and entrepreneurs view it as an opportunity. They are finding ways to bring products to market. At the same time, other companies remain in a holding pattern due to supply chain disruptions. They seek to profit from consumers’ willingness to pay more due to the scarcity that has persisted for well over a year.

All of this makes it extremely important for companies and entrepreneurs to ensure that their brands (and other IP) are adequately protected.

When Competition Gets Fierce, Not Everyone Plays By the Rules

Why? The feast-or-famine mentality driving many business decisions in today’s environment presents risks for companies and entrepreneurs who have not taken adequate steps to protect their IP. Some examples of these risks include:

  • Employees and contractors misappropriating companies’ IP to start their own competing businesses
  • Counterfeiters selling substandard (and potentially dangerous) products under legitimate companies’ brands
  • Competitors and entrepreneurs adopt confusingly similar trademarks in order to promote products while better-known retailers’ products are not filling the shelves
  • Licensees exceeding the scope of their licenses for copyrighted and patented assets in an effort to make ends meet while their sales are down
  • Marketers using IP owners’ website content, photos, songs, and other copyrighted media without permission or compensation

When an employee, competitor, counterfeiter, customer or other third party infringes or misappropriates a company’s IP, reacting swiftly can be essential for protecting the company’s exclusive rights. It can also be essential for protecting the company’s reputation and goodwill. As a result, companies should have mechanisms in place to monitor their IP, and they should be prepared to take legal action immediately upon discovering unauthorized access or use.

Of course, the better approach is to avoid the need for legal action. This involves identifying the business’s IP assets, registering these assets, and implementing other protective measures such as contractual protections. While companies and entrepreneurs cannot prevent others from making poor decisions entirely, they can take steps to make these decisions as costly as possible. This serves to mitigate the risk of misappropriation and infringement, and it serves the parallel function of putting the business in the strongest possible position should it need to enforce its hard-earned (and highly valuable) exclusivity.

Speak with an IP Lawyer at GS2 Law in Confidence

If you would like to know more about the steps your business should be taking to protect its IP assets in today’s inflationary economy, we encourage you to get in touch. To schedule a confidential consultation with an IP lawyer at GS2 Law, please request an appointment online today.