Boxed-in brands: dealing with trademark infringement during COVID-19


Muireann Bolger

Boxed-in brands: dealing with trademark infringement during COVID-19

Viacheslav Lopatin /

During economic downturns, brands face a dilemma. Pressure on revenue can leave trademark infringement unchecked but an antagonistic approach can also have adverse consequences. As IP professionals and brands look to the future, Muireann Bolger discovers what lessons they can learn.

To retain a strong position in a tough marketplace, established brands must constantly be wary of threats to their IP. But the COVID-19 crisis has posed unprecedented challenges to many businesses, presenting a question mark about how to best protect their brand and IP against audacious rivals.

Before COVID-19, companies had already reported a marked increase in trademark infringement. According to a study by CompuMark, released earlier this year, 85% of brands experienced trademark infringement during 2019 – a steady upward trend from 74% in 2017. The costs were significant for brands experiencing brand infringement, with the top three cited as customer confusion (45%), loss of revenue (38%) and damage to brand reputation (37%).

Moreover, brands were prepared to take action. Three quarters of trademark infringements led to litigation, with 40% of organisations spending between $50,000 to $249,999 on legal proceedings. In addition, 46% of companies reported having to rebrand as a result of infringement.

Trademark infringement, COVID-19, brand protection, CompuMark, reputation, pandemic, UKIPO, Clarivate, litigation, distinctiveness, Prosecco, GCF, PDO