Actor Bill Cosby sent a “cease and desist” letter to a businessman who had an online company called Cosby Sweaters. (The company name has since been changed.) The owner reportedly tweeted that he couldn’t believe his childhood hero was suing him. I can.

Obviously Cosby cannot claim ownership of every crazy patterned sweater into perpetuity, but he certainly has a right to protect how his name is used.

Brand vigilance is critical.

I was advising a very new business owner the other day about making sure that she puts the right framework in place to protect her intellectual property. While I was talking about legal frameworks, she kept talking about how she has a solid brand. By which she was really referring to the fact that she had trademarked her brand name and held a copyright on her core materials. All of which, by the way, is good–but not good enough.

There’s a difference between having a strong brand and protecting your business. Just ask Microsoft about fake software. Or kate spade about knockoff handbags.

What do you do to protect your brand?

Photo by pasukaru76 (Flickr).

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