The following is an excerpt from my video 5 Trademark Lessons from a Year of Pandemic and Quarantine.
In some ways, it’s hard to believe that it’s been more than a year of living in times of the coronavirus pandemic and being quarantined; and of course in some ways it feels like it’s been a very long time and much longer than a year. I want to share with you five trademark lessons that I have learned from the last year, and how trademarks and brands and businesses have dealt with the pandemic.
The first overarching thing is that despite all the challenges and bad news and unfortunate health and death and restrictions from the pandemic, the world of trademarks is actually booming, believe it or not. Trademark filings are up significantly. There’s a huge influx from China, but even taking out the filings from China, filings are up. Filings generally predict or mirror the economy as a whole, and so that is good news on that front. There is a boom in the world of trademarks. Things have not slowed down at all in the world of trademarks.
The second thing over the last year as I reflected on our pandemic and trademarks is the scammers. Unfortunately, you’ve probably heard me talk about the scammers on multiple occasions or read something I’ve written at isthisatrademarkscam.com. The scammers are still scamming and they’re even coming up with new ways. They’re going after applicants, registrants, attorneys from all different angles: text messages, emails, letters. Many of them essentially impersonate the US Patent and Trademark Office, or use materials, paperwork that makes it look like they’re official and from the government. Of course, they pull records from the USPTO’s database so it’s easier for them to appear that way. So we still have to be more vigilant than ever for the scammers because they haven’t gone away and they’re finding new ways to scam people.
The next two things that I’ve observed over the last year relate to clients and their businesses and their brands. Somewhat contradictory, but when you think of them together over the last year, I think it makes sense. Some clients have doubled down on their focus of what they do and how they do it, and they’re doing great and they’re crushing it, so to speak. So they haven’t necessarily had to adapt because their business, their operations are very valuable today, and they’ve found a way to focus on that narrow lane of what they do and excel and grow during these challenging times. That’s one set of clients.
Another set of clients has had industries or businesses that were disrupted by the pandemic and quarantine. Seeing many of them pivot and change and come up with new delivery models, new ways of providing value to their customers, new service offerings has been tremendously inspiring and fascinating to watch. So on the one hand, you have businesses that have kept doing what they’re doing and excelled even more. On the other hand, you have businesses who have pivoted and excelled because they’ve been able to use those pivots to enhance what they do and grow their business.
The fifth lesson from the world of trademarks and branding over the last year is that, as we all know, we’re spending more time online, more time on video calls, more and more businesses are operating more and more online, more of our lives and our commercial activity are online. The brand lesson in that is that for businesses, it’s even more valuable than ever to have a trademark registration because trademark protection, trademark registration provides those tools online—whether it’s domain names, social media handles, Amazon brand registry—having trademark registration makes it so much easier to guard and protect your brand online. Unfortunately, the nature of online business makes it easier for some to copy or infringe brands. So there’s the double edged sword of the online business, as businesses need more protection because it’s easier for people to knock off a brand or harm your brand online.
That leads me to the bonus lesson from the year of pandemic and quarantine, which is that because so much activity is online, because we’re spending more time on social media and TikTok and new channels exploding, businesses need to be even more vigilant about how they conduct themselves online and more mindful of the way that they interact with their customers, the way that reactions can happen so quickly and so explosively that businesses really need to make sure that they have a plan for what they communicate and how they communicate and interact with their customers online.
I hope you found those tips and lessons valuable from what I’ve observed working with hundreds of brands over the last year during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’d like to hear more updates from me about trademark and branding related things, you can subscribe to my YouTube channel. You can subscribe to Tricks of the Trademark Podcast. If you enjoy those things, please leave us a review or a comment. I look forward to seeing you on the next episode.