solen-feyissa-TaOGbz_S-Qw-unsplashIt’s easy to start thinking of trademarks as instruments to profit off of, or to be used in legal battles as either shield or cudgel, but it’s occasionally worth remembering their more basic functions and how those serve businesses in very real and tangible ways. For example, you create a logo to identify your business to identify your company and products to consumers, and in time that logo comes to mean something more than just an image. You build equity in a brand, and in time trust from consumers, and in trademarking that logo you’re protecting not only yourself and your business, you’re also protecting consumers from potential knockoffs that look like what you sell but aren’t to the quality they’ve come to expect. 

Never was an arena more ripe for exploitation than the internet, where it’s terrible easy to create fake websites that look much like the real thing, or to exploit communication with scam emails that are passably authentic, particularly for those not as discerning or not as aware of the propensity of phishing and other attacks. Even those who are more cautious can get pulled in by increasingly complex email scams. So how can we hope to trust the many emails we’re receiving a day?

According to Gmail, trademarks will play an important part. From Lexology comes the story of how the company is instituting a plan to allow companies to add a verified brand logo to the email badges we see next to every item in our inbox. There’s the technical aspect to how authentication works, but of greater interest to IP observers is the fact that trademarks are essential to the process. To avoid the obvious issue of scammers just pulling the logo of the company they’re spoofing and submitting it, Gmail has made it a requirement to shop proof of logo ownership in order to get a verified badge for your emails. 

It’s worth noting that email scams don’t just hurt those on the email lists, although they are of course bearing the cost of whatever money may be lost; businesses relying on marketing emails run the risk of having theirs unopened and deleted by people unsure which emails they can trust, if any. This new program will hopefully go some way towards restoring that trust, and in emphasizing once again the importance of trademarks, and of registering the marks you own. 

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