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Image rights: How to protect your casino brand with trademarking

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November 10, 2023

Using images is one of the most effective methods of communicating your brand with your audience. However, in the age of data protection, you have to safeguard your casino brand image by applying for copyright, trademark, or patent protection. Doing this makes your image or logo yours, preventing others from utilising it without permission.

If you have a new business and want to protect your casino brand, QWERTYLABS can assist you. Here, we will provide a basic overview of image rights and how to use, protect and profit from them.

What are image rights?

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Image Rights law is the proprietary rights an individual has in their image and other unique characteristics associated with their personality. It prevents other people and unauthorised third parties from using an individual’s persona. This includes their name, nickname, picture, quote, signature and other indicia connected with a particular person or business entity. These rights are known in different jurisdictions by various names, including ‘rights of privacy' (UK), ‘rights of publicity' (USA) and ‘rights of personality' (Continental Europe). 

Image usage rights case samples: Why it’s necessary

To understand easily, here are sample cases regarding image usage rights. 

Oppo Kenya

In 2022, the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner in Kenya shocked the country when it issued a penalty notice against Oppo Kenya. It fined the company 5 million shillings for using someone's photograph commercially without their permission, prompting that individual to submit a complaint.

Kabianga University Kenya 

In another case, Kabianga University in Kenya received an order from the High Court to pay a person half a million shillings after it used their image without their consent. They accused the institution of using their image for marketing purposes and requesting donations from a local bank without their permission. These cases show the importance of being exceedingly cautious as a business when using someone else's image to promote or market your products. Having the person's permission in the photograph is crucial, lest you risk paying fines. 

You can do this by giving them a consent form to complete and sign. If it’s impossible, you can use copyright-free photos from the internet on sites like Shutterstock and Pexels.

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Why are image rights important for a casino brand? 

A brand image is more than just a logo representing your company, product, or service. Companies usually link a brand image with costs and frills that add nothing to their existing product or service, so they don’t give importance to it. However, brand image is highly significant since it represents your brand's identity, especially if your business is an online casino.

Many online casinos have boomed throughout the years, and one reason is they create an identity different from others. So, if you want your casino brand to be famous worldwide, start with your brand image. Meanwhile, fake sites come with the growth of online casinos. These will use your picture for illegal activities that may damage your brand identity. So, make sure your casino properties have brand protection.

Here’s why they are crucial for your casino brand. 

Preserving brand identity

Making a solid first impression is critical in business. Consumers will form an opinion about your company and brand based on many aspects, including customer service, user interface, and more. Call it unnecessary, but these minor things serve as contact points between you and potential consumers. Here, appearance is everything; it defines who you are.

For example, look at Apple’s logo: a bitten apple. When you see this logo wherever you may be, you know that it’s the company Apple. Associated with its brand are its high-quality products., which shows its identity. Apple holds a trademark for the Apple logo, which it vigorously defends along with other trademarks. That’s why Apple has sued Fruit Union Suisse, a 111-year-old farmer's association that has used the apple (fruit) as its official logo. 

Preventing Trademark Infringement

Trademarks are vital for companies to stand out and be easily identified by customers. They also provide crucial safeguards against counterfeit merchants and products. While there are incidents of mistaken trademark infringement, infringements can occur when fake sellers intentionally dupe consumers into purchasing a product from a genuine brand. This harms both the customer and the brand. However, if you have an image rights contract, you can prevent this from happening.  

Preserving Intellectual Property (IP)

Photographs, drawings, and others are often protected as artistic works under copyright. This implies that if an entity wants to do anything, like replicate your brand image or share it on the internet, they will likely require your consent. The best way to preserve your intellectual property images is to register them with the government and assert your ownership rights. It prohibits fraudulent activity involving your company's name and brand.

Types of IP Infringement relevant to image rights

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Intellectual property refers to mental creations such as designs, literary and creative works, inventions and logos. It is protected by law via patents, copyrights and trademarks, allowing artists to obtain recognition and financial advantages from their work.

To understand each IP variation, here are the guidelines to help you.

Trademark Infringement or unauthorised use of images

A trademark is a recognisable symbol, phrase, or emblem identifying a product or brand. It is solely given to a brand or company, meaning they own the trademark, and no one else can use or reproduce it. Unauthorised use of a registered brand will likely confuse customers about products or services' origin, association, or endorsement. It’s considered trademark infringement.

Copyright Infringement or replication

Authors and producers of original content have the sole right to use, copy, or replicate their work under copyright. A copyright violation occurs when an unauthorised person replicates all or part of an original work. 

Patent Infringement

A patent is a property right issued to an investor by a government body. The patent grants the creator sole ownership of the innovation. When someone uses, sells, or offers for sale a patented invention without the patent owner's consent, this is considered online patent infringement.

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Trademark registration for casino brands

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Registering a trademark for your casino brand name, logo, or distinctive marks is a big step that benefits your gaming platform by protecting its identity from misuse or theft. It grants you legal ownership and exclusive rights to use the mark nationwide. If anyone uses the logo without your permission, you can sue them. Aside from that, once your logo is registered in the US, you may register it in other nations. It means you can expand your casino brand into other markets.

How to register your casino brand’s trademark

Trademark registration might sound like a challenging task, but it has a simple process you can complete in just a few easy steps. Follow the steps below to gain legal ownership and exclusivity of your casino brand’s name, logo or image:

  1. Search the brand name on TESS

The first step is to look for the name of your brand in the federal database. It is to confirm that the name you want to trademark isn't already trademarked. 

You can do this via the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) Trademark Electronic Search System or TESS. Furthermore, you should look for similar names because your registration may be rejected if it’s too close to another name already registered in the same group.

  1. Apply your brand name

If your brand name is still available, it’s time to prepare your trademark application. You can file for a name already in commercial use or to utilise the name in the future.

Remember these ten components of trademark application:

  • Applicant’s name and address
  • The citizenship and legal entity of the applicant
  • A name and address for future correspondence 
  • A drawing of the desired mark or simply type in the name
  • A thorough description of the mark
  • A specific list of services or goods covered by the trademark application
  • The class of services or goods
  • An example of the mark in use and the date it was first used
  • A dated signature of the applicant or an authorised representative
  • Fee for the type and number of classes included on the application.
  1. File for trademark

USPTO’s website provides the easiest and quickest way to apply for a trademark. Registering your company name online should take roughly 90 minutes. After submitting your application, the USPTO will provide you with a confirmation receipt and a serial number, which you may use to monitor the status of your application via the Trademark Status & Document Retrieval (TSDR) site.

  1. Claim your rights

Once your casino brand’s logo, name or image is registered with the USPTO, you can now have exclusive rights to use it within the approved usage and services. You can sue entities who use your name, logo or image without your consent. Remember that trademarks last 10 years. Ensure to renew your trademark in a decade.

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Design and copyright protection for casino brands

Design rights are intellectual property rights that govern a product's visual appearance, including its pattern, colour, shape, material, texture and packaging. However, the design must be unique and not widely used. It should allow consumers to immediately recognise your brand based on its logo or other visual clues. A well-designed logo may boost brand awareness and help consumers recall and distinguish your business from rivals.

You can do this by hiring a talented graphic designer who can bring your brand to life via creative work consistent with your vision and appealing to your target audience. However, it is also crucial for designers to understand copyright in graphic design to prevent legal issues. In graphic design copyright, you can’t apply your ideas, systems, methods, names, titles and slogans for protection. However, the best strategy to prevent others from copying your work is by applying for a trademark.

Strategies for protecting a casino's brands images online

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Even if your brand image, logo or other business marks are trademarked, entities or people might still use them without your permission. It can be annoying, but there are techniques or tools you can use to protect your casino’s brand image. 

Watermarking

A watermark is a translucent logo, or a short text overlaid on materials or photos for copyright or marketing purposes. Removing it from a picture or document is difficult. Thus, by watermarking your work, you may prevent people from using it and claiming credit for it.

Embedding digital rights management (DRM)

Digital rights management refers to using technology and systems to limit access to and use different digital assets and information. Instead of constantly monitoring the web for instances of your assets being used illegally, DRM software helps you prevent those assets from being misused in the first place. DRM ensures that no one will use your designed products, brand pictures, or other assets without your consent. 

Monitoring for unauthorised use

Monitoring how you and others utilise your brand identity and assets is another technique to avoid unauthorised usage. To keep track of any mentions or allusions to your brand, you may use tools like Google Alerts, social media listening, or trademark monitoring services. You may also perform frequent website audits, marketing materials, and goods to verify that they are consistent and compliant with your brand rules and standards.

Get licensing agreements

Copyright licensing agreements are crucial for protecting intellectual property for businesses. A licensing agreement is a contract between two parties (the licensor and the licensee) in which the licensor allows the licensee to use the licensor's brand name, trademark, patented technology, or ability to create and market items. The law protects your original work from unauthorised use and infringement, giving you the legal right to sue anyone who steals it.

Manage usage and licensing of casino brand images

Images are a powerful way to communicate with consumers and engage them with your brand. However, you've got to know the legal requirements and restrictions. Whether you use stock photos or custom imagery for your casino brand visuals, ensuring you get the proper licences and permissions protects your brand.

Secure your brand with QWERTYLABS

Your brand name and logo are your company's identity. It's your most valuable asset, as it's what everyone sees. They can be patented and trademarked, which helps consumers recognise your casino brand. This is why keeping these assets protected is essential so they're not misused or infringed upon.

QWERTYLABS can help you protect your brand and reputation. We provide different services that can help you gain international recognition. Become one of our clients and secure your casino brand. Contact us now to discuss how we can meet your brand’s needs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are image rights in the context of a casino brand?

Image rights represent your company, product, or service. It is usually your logo, theme or font which differentiates your site from other competitors. 

Why is it important to protect image rights for a casino brand?

Protecting your casino’s image rights prevents other people, businesses and casino sites from using your brand name, logo or other products without your consent. This protects your reputation and identity.

How can I register and protect the trademarks associated with my casino brand?

Registering your brand is easy. You just need to: 

  1. Make sure your name is not similar to any brand to avoid trademark rejection.
  2. Prepare your trademark application by including the applicant’s name, address, citizenship, legal entity and more.
  3. File it with the USPTO.
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