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Brands fighting counterfeiting in China should incorporate several tools into their strategies, such as initiating cyber/targeted investigations and monitoring their supply chains carefully, as Lee Macfarland of CBI Consulting reports.
Once a brand has achieved a certain level of recognition, it is inevitable that it will attract the unwanted attention of counterfeiters. Initially, ‘second hand’ goods that are too cheap appear on consumer-to-consumer platforms online, but this can quickly escalate into full-scale independent websites which offer ‘replicas’ of a brand’s whole range of products. Soon enough, the need for a brand protection programme becomes apparent, but it can be difficult to know where to start.
According to the World Customs Organization, 75% of counterfeit goods seized worldwide originate from China. For luxury brands which rely upon high levels of sales in China, it is worth noting that this does not take into account the China domestic market for counterfeit goods, which is famously larger than in the West. As such, all anti-counterfeiting programmes should incorporate a combination of methods to prevent sales, and frustrate the distribution, of counterfeit goods at various stages in the supply chain.
The initial port of call, as with other jurisdictions, should be to register your trademarks with Chinese customs. Unlike many other countries, China will also inspect outgoing shipments, and if goods with your trademark are found, you will be notified and asked to verify whether they are unauthorised. Between China’s inspection of outgoing shipments, and other countries’ inspections of incoming shipments, a substantial although still minor number of counterfeits should be seized.
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Lee Macfarland,CBI Consulting, World Customs Organization, anti-counterfeiting, websites, intelligence, counterfeiters, patent, trademark, copyright,