IP and online retail
Produced in partnership with Appleyard Lees
IP and online retail

The following IP guidance note Produced in partnership with Appleyard Lees provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • IP and online retail
  • Flagship domain names
  • Results from search engines
  • Search engine optimisation
  • 'Flagship' domain names v SEO
  • Use of brand names as keywords
  • Case law
  • When does an advertisement infringe?
  • Google France
  • Portakabin
  • more

STOP PRESS: This Practice Note is under review as part of our routine maintenance process. Once the review process is complete, the status of the Practice Note will return to maintained.

As of exit day (31 January 2020) the UK is no longer an EU Member State. However, in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK has entered an implementation period, during which it continues to be subject to EU law. This has an impact on this Practice Note. For further guidance, see Practice Note: Brexit—IP rights.

The adoption of the Internet as a commercial medium has fundamentally changed the economics of the retail industry. In order to compete with leaner online-only businesses, established high-street retailers must exploit the goodwill in their brands to succeed in the online trading environment. Businesses do not adapt are likely to fail.

This Practice Note considers three techniques a retailer should consider to improve its brand profile:

  1. flagship domain names

  2. search engine optimisation (SEO)

  3. keyword advertising

Flagship domain names

Just like a flagship store, a flagship domain name or website address sits at the heart of the brand. It tends to be at the core of advertising campaigns and is the ‘front door’ that leads to a brand’s homepage.

Registering every variation of a brand name is prohibitively expensive, if indeed it is possible at all.