6 December 2018TrademarksRachel Jones and Jet Doran

Brand protection: Keeping an eye on counterfeits

For many non-readers of WIPR, counterfeiting remains something experienced by luxury brands, commonly found in continental tourist markets and on the street corners of favourite conurbations. Increasingly however, the £5 product from the lesser known brand is being counterfeited around the world—causing havoc in terms of brand reputation, diverted revenues and customer dissatisfaction.

Baby products, dog food, laptop chargers and suitcases are some examples of products which are targeted by counterfeiters. When sold online, complete with a recognised brand name and often ‘borrowed’ official images, and at a credible price on known marketplaces, it can be near impossible to verify the authenticity of these products.

Fakes can be offered at just a fraction less than the original price, making them look like fabulous deals. However, the fake has none of the standards of the original, the price of which results from the total cost of taking the original product to market: its design, prototyping, market testing, IP registrations, branding, marketing, safety testing, insurance, and logistics, to name but a few components.

Fakes have none of this. They simply rip off the brand name, visual characteristics and off they go. Even CE certification marks can be counterfeited.

With 4.7 billion customers expected online by 2020, and 20% growth annually, the opportunity for online selling, and online buying, is unparalleled. With this comes the opportunity to buy and sell fakes.

Solid strategy

To any business, online protection is but one piece of an overall, often complex, brand jigsaw. But a proactive, 24x7 online monitoring and takedown strategy goes a long way towards making a significant difference, for minimal investment.

Identifying and removing known counterfeit products and listings from public marketplaces, be this B2B, B2C, or C2C, means they can no longer be offered to the desired audience with such ease. If they are no longer evidently for sale online, they aren’t exported through this route either.

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