Technology has become such an integral part of our lives that we have stopped consciously celebrating its profound effects. When the internet was first made accessible to the public, it pioneered a digital world that we were fated to adapt to – some willingly, others more hesitantly.
Fast forward to the late 1990s to the genesis of social media and the popularity of blogging sites. Now that most of the developed world is active online, it is opening up opportunities for communication, development, and discovery of information. However, the inexhaustible possibilities that result from such innovative tech also opens up the risk for unforeseen challenges. Just like we adapt to digital’s life-changing improvements, we must also adapt to its perils.
One area that is benefiting from digital’s evolving landscape are businesses. The internet gives their brand a place to exist, while digital media – particularly in the social media realm – puts them in front of the eyes of online users both nationally and internationally.
Brands are living in the digital space because they are evolving in ways that were impossible before the invention of the internet. Social media has become a vessel to reach a vast, diverse audience of people that was once limited to a business’ physical surroundings, or at least constrained to the nation’s borders.
The digital world welcomed Facebook in 2006 and, since then, this channel has become one of the main platforms that can be credited with giving businesses a digital voice. Brands can post their digital content at a rapid rate and users can just as quickly share that information until they reach thousands, even millions, of people.
This public space and its accessibility becomes the concern of trademark lawyers. Protecting these brands is more complex than it was decades ago. There are trademark issues that pertain to domain names, as well as concerns that arise from the distribution of information – e.g. are trademarks being violated in any online conversations?
Trademark lawyers must be conscious of the reach of their clients’ brands. One business could be active across multiple digital platforms, while one company could have a variety of brands engaged on a plethora of social channels. A trademark lawyer’s protection must not only extend far into this digital space, but must also reach globally as mass amounts of international users begin interacting with a brand’s digital content.
To serve the needs of their clients in a complex digital space, a trademark lawyer must be knowledgeable of the appropriate legislation in order to act on any potential infringements that happen anywhere on the web, or halfway across the world. They need to be wise to an increasing number of resources, as well as competent in handling a high level of activity.
This opportunity for expansion will also naturally affect the value of a brand, which is another area that demands the involvement of the trademark lawyer. When a brand enters into a new territory – which the digital world makes possible – it is profitable for the business to consider a partnership in order to effectively broaden their audience. A business will not only want to know how these partnerships will affect their growth (and value), but will want to work with a trademark lawyer in order to ensure their intellectual property is protected.
A trademark lawyer is no longer just restricted to legal issues, they become an integral part of their client’s business strategy.