KnowEm Introduces the “Essential Package”

January 31, 2012 · Filed Under Announcements, KnowEm News, Social Media · 3 Comments 

KnowEm gets requests all the time from individuals to small businesses that ask “We really don’t think we need a presence on 100 or more social media sites, are there any smaller packages that you offer?” Well today KnowEm is proud to announce the new “Essential Package”, a selection of the 25 most popular social media sites.  You can see the exact offering of sites on the purchase page by clicking the link underneath the package information.

We feel this package offers great value at a more introductory level price for individuals and SMBs interested in getting involved with just the most essential and popular social networks.  The new package is a complete one-button turnkey solution for not only reserving your name, but also completing all the profile information, images and links required to create a full presence on the top 25 social media sites.

KnowEm has identified this list of 25 essential social networks via several different metrics — page rank, compete score, alexa traffic rankings and media mentions.  All profile creation orders are still completed 100% manually by our U.S.-based in-house staff, so just like all our other plans you can rest assured your data and information is safe with us.

So from the small business owner just getting their feet wet in social media to the new parent that wants to be sure their child’s name is reserved and waiting for them when they want to start tweeting, we have the package for you.

In addition, KnowEm is currently working with a few other companies to develop custom packages for their client base.  Keep your eye out for these other new packages launching within the next few weeks!

Comparison of Brand Protection in Greece, Romania and Albania

March 3, 2011 · Filed Under Brand and Trademark Protection, Intellectual Property · Comments Off on Comparison of Brand Protection in Greece, Romania and Albania 

Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post by Eleni Lappa, an IP and Trademark attorney.  She is a partner with the Drakopoulos Law Firm, which has 3 international offices in Greece, Romania and Albania.

The practical experience of working in 3 jurisdictions for all sorts of IP matters including brand protection reveals a lot in terms of how a pre-merging (Albania), emerging (Romania) and “emerged”  market (Greece) apply in each respective jurisdiction, equivalent general principles deriving from the same international treaties.

One would assume that the less “advanced” a market, the less sophisticated it would be in terms of practical brand protection. Not so, entirely.

The results of such an observation are quite surprising: one would assume that the less “advanced” a market, the less sophisticated it would be in terms of practical brand protection. Not so, entirely. Firstly, the modus operandi of the respective trademark offices where all relevant information derives from, is quite different. Albania, though not yet a member of the EU (and the CTM System) has made great improvement in maintaining trademark rights. Our Firm’s local partners have been appointed to serve in the statutory committee instituted by the ALPTO (Albanian Trademark and Patent Office) assigned with the task of upgrading the national trademark system (in itself, a step forward) and we therefore know from the inside that plans are underway so that the already computerized – to a workable level – database will soon be upgraded even further and information will be available even faster, easier and more reliably than now. In Romania, the local patent and trademark office (OSIM) also has a satisfactory – to a point – database (even an online search tool which however requires the insertion of a certification code each time and that certainly slows down the process) however, it still needs a visit in-person (we make a point of doing this via our local colleagues just to be on the safe side). As for Greece, the online database is risky to use on its own and an in-person visit has to be in the schedule in order for any type of information to be offered with certainty.

As for jurisprudence, Greece in comparison to Romania and Albania is, as one might expect, a much more elaborate jurisdiction in terms of case-law (though Greece is a civil code, non-common law jurisdiction, formally speaking at least). Yet, though many more issues and details of issues have been examined and decided even at highest level in Greece (by the highest civil court – Areios Pagos for infringements – or the highest administrative court – Council of State – for trademark actions) the availability of such decisions, due to some obscure data protection provisions applicable in Greek jurisdiction is many times dependent upon the experience with or personal involvement of a trademark lawyer in a particular matter – whereas anyone else may be able to find a decision that would state some interesting principles without including the marks under judicial review for example (especially when they coincide with the company name of one of the adversaries). Albania may have fewer decisions to offer and yet they are building up and are easier to find while Romania already has a substantive database that many times help us (when representing a client present in all 3 jurisdictions) coordinate and draw a basic course of action that would be as risk-free as possible in all 3 countries and would ensure the business goals of the client are met.

In sum, though Greece (its economy in particular) has been under the microscope from the end of 2009 until present, much more so than Romania and Albania, it seems that Greece needs to also pay attention to the availability of tools for brand protection (administrative and judicial) since the desired development and growth usually stems from the presence of global players locally that would feel safe in the protection of their brands locally. Some steps have already been taken, especially with a recent update of administrative courts procedure for expediting and simplifying the process, more should be done towards that direction, for even more positive results and efficiency.

Eleni Lappa is a partner at the Drakopoulos Law Firm which has 3 international locations; Greece, Albania & Romania. For more information on her or her practice please feel free to contact the practice directly via their website.

If a Country Can’t Reclaim a Username, What Chance Do You Have?

Israel on TwitterIt was recently reported that the state of Israel purchased the Twitter username @Israel from a private individual named Israel Meléndez for an undisclosed sum, which by some reports may be as much as six figures.  You read that right – the Nation of Israel paid for a Twitter username from some guy that runs a porn site in Miami.  He gave the prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu his password, and then they handed him a check.

Since Twitter has a policy against name squatting and selling usernames, you have to wonder what Twitter thinks of this deal.  Their policy states “attempts to sell, buy, or solicit other forms of payment in exchange for usernames are also violations and may result in permanent account suspension.”  Israel Meléndez says they didn’t violate this clause because he was just relinquishing his own personal account, he didn’t create the account for the purposes of making a profit.  Other reports state Twitter actually helped facilitate the sale, but Twitter hasn’t confirmed that.

At KnowEm we have clients inquiring every day about what they can do to get their company’s brand, trademark or username back if it has already been taken on a social network.  We always advise them to use the proper channels and contact the website owner to ask about their policy in reclaiming names, which usually requires some lawyers to get involved.  The truth is, however, that it can be a very difficult and time-consuming process.  And as this story shows us, you might not get the outcome you want.

If the nation of Israel had to pay a six figure sum to reclaim their name on Twitter, what chance do you have of getting your branded username back if it’s already been taken?  This is the primary reason a professional service like KnowEm is so valuable for brand and trademark owners who want to be proactive in Social Media.  Think of it as brand insurance – no one can steal or squat on your name on the next big social network if you have already registered it.

The New Threat of Typosquatting (Misspelled Brands) in Social Media

September 13, 2010 · Filed Under Brand and Trademark Protection, Domain Names, Identity Theft, Online Reputation Management, Social Media · Comments Off on The New Threat of Typosquatting (Misspelled Brands) in Social Media 

A recent tweet by Andrew Nystrom of Red Bull brought attention to a growing trend we’ve noticed in Social Media sites such as Twitter and Facebook — that of TyposquattingTyposquatting is a form of brandjacking/cybersquatting in which someone registers the misspelling of a brand or trademark term in an attempt to capture traffic from a legitimate well-known entity.  In the case of social networks, this is done by using the misspelling of a username, such as in Justin Bieber’s case. The real @justinbieber has 5.2 million followers, but a misspelled dupe account of @justinbeiber (the i and e transposed) with zero tweets already has over 16,000 followers.

Typosquatting on domain names is not a new practice on the internet; it was clearly identified as a threat as early as 1995 by the Federal Trademark Dilution Act and targeted directly in 1999 with the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act which “established a cause of action for registering, trafficking in, or using a domain name confusingly similar to, or dilutive of, a trademark or personal name.”  Eventually ICANN also established the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP) for further protection against domain name squatting.

Like defensive domain registrations to prevent cybersquatting, trademark owners should acquire a company name, any trademarks, and any other important intellectual property brands on all social network sites.
Traverse Legal, 9/21/09

While this helps protect trademark owners from issues with misspelled domain names, there isn’t really anything in place yet which protects them on social networks.   This was evidenced as early as a year go by reports concerning name misspellings being bought and sold on Twitter, and not just as usernames, but by API names as well.  It seems wherever a user can supply content on a social network, there is the possibility of that content’s true owner being misrepresented.

So what can trademark owners do to protect their brands?  They can wait until after their name has been squatted and issue a cease and desist to each social network and try and recover it, or they can use a service like KnowEm to proactively register their mark on popular social networks.  For purposes of full disclosure I will point out that I am a co-founder of KnowEm, and I am happy to stand behind our service as the first and foremost social networking trademark protection firm on the internet.

You don’t necessarily have to rush out and use a professional service to protect misspellings of your trademark on every social network, but at the least you should consider monitoring not only the usage of your brand or mark, but several misspellings as well.  Typosquatting has been around since domains existed and there’s no reason to believe it will go away anytime soon, especially with the continuing popularity and growth of social networks.

New Dashboard from KnowEm Helps Protect Against Brandjacking in the Social Web

August 25, 2010 · Filed Under Announcements, Brand and Trademark Protection, KnowEm News · Comments Off on New Dashboard from KnowEm Helps Protect Against Brandjacking in the Social Web 

Early adopters such as Continental Airlines, Yahoo, and Flickr have been using the service during an invitation-only beta to stake out their IP on more than 5,000 social sites around the world

KnowEm, the company working to help brands manage their identity across the social web, announced the public launch of a new Enterprise Dashboard designed to help brands protect their trademarks and intellectual property in the ever-changing social media landscape.

The dashboard gives social media and IP legal teams a centralized location to monitor and manage their social media identities. With just a few clicks a marketing manager or lawyer can see exactly where a certain trademark or name is secured, and where it’s still unclaimed and vulnerable. KnowEm takes the process a step farther by automatically securing names, even creating profiles, wherever needed.

KnowEm’s database contains over 5,000 social networks around the world  — from Mexico Diario to the Netherlands’ Hyves — and is growing on a daily basis as new social sites emerge. As a result, businesses can be sure their trademarked terms are reserved and protected in global sites today and tomorrow.

The enterprise dashboard was previously available in a limited invitation-only beta, during which time KnowEm collaborated with key clients, including Continental Airlines, Yahoo, and Flickr. For example, Continental has been using the dashboard to protect their brand trademarks and reserve their profiles on emerging social networks.

“While Twitter and Facebook are obvious places to check your brand identity, globally much of the social web is unchartered territory. It’s critical that we control our trademarked terms and brand identities throughout each network,” said Lora O’Riordan, Social Media Manager at Continental Airlines. “KnowEm’s service has become an important part of our social media strategy, ensuring we protect our property and opening our eyes to new opportunities for consumer engagement.”

In addition, the new dashboard enables brands to stay on top of the buzz surrounding their brand and industry on the social web. KnowEm’s brand alert monitoring system tracks each mention of a brand name, username, or keyword across 5,000+ social networks. The service breaks down the data into meaningful charts, such as social mentions by network, author, or geographic location, and reports can be emailed on a weekly, daily, or almost hourly basis. As a result, businesses can better understand who’s talking about their brand, where, and when.

To date the KnowEm team has helped to reserve over 500,000 profiles and reported back to clients on over 60,000 issues of squatting and misrepresentation of a brand, username or trademarked term.