February 15, 2017
It’s a Counterfeit Jungle out There
Lessons from Amazon on Why and How to Protect Your Brand
If you follow news surrounding Amazon.com, you know 2016 was a year of exploding opportunities at the online shopping giant—for counterfeiters. Overseas manufacturers, who were warmly welcomed into the Amazon fold, took advantage of Amazon’s selling platform and logistic systems to gain direct access to U.S. consumers and to cheat hundreds of American businesses.
With few checks in place, companies from abroad dealing in fake reviews, fake products, hijacked listings and constantly-changing store names made big money. Unfortunately, while fakers have leveraged Amazon’s fulfillment services and used them to commingle authentic and counterfeit inventory, consumers have received inferior products and authentic brand sellers have seen revenue plummet overnight.
What Stories like Amazon’s Can Teach You About Protecting Your Brand
But Amazon isn’t the only place where counterfeits have been thriving. Other online retailers like Alibaba (recently put back on the U.S.’s Notorious Markets List) and landlords of counterfeit-selling storefronts like L.A.’s Santee Alley and Lower Manhattan’s Canal Street are feeling pressure, as counterfeit sales have grown and frustrated manufacturers demand ways to prevent fakers from gaming the system and robbing brands both new and old.
Recently, Amazon announced it’s taking serious steps in 2017 to stop counterfeit products from being sold through its site. The company is creating a registry and encouraging all brands to sign up. Any merchants offering the brands will need to prove they have permission to sell them. By doing this, Amazon hopes to boost trust with consumers and sellers alike—and to encourage companies who’ve shied away from Amazon in the past because of fakes to finally join the marketplace.
What are the takeaways from stories like Amazon’s when it comes to protecting your brand? That counterfeiting is alive and well. But also that change is in the wind.
As counterfeiting has increased, so too have the means to fight it. Thanks to advances in anti-counterfeiting technology (anti-counterfeit packaging, new inventory tracking systems), increased IP protection legislation and collaboration among organizations and manufacturers, your company has more opportunities than ever to prevent, eliminate and seek justice from fakers. Now, you can create strong opposition to those who would infringe on your trademark or copyright and “rob the store.”
So, how do you take control from would-be counterfeiters?
What to Expect From an Experienced Intellectual Property (aka Brand) Protector
Fortunately, an experienced intellectual property law firm can be a powerful adversary when it comes to anticipating and preventing counterfeiting. For example, as your IP protector, they’ll work to halt the production and sales of any existing counterfeit goods. Legal experts who specialize in this area and collaborate regularly with various law enforcement agencies can often eliminate counterfeiting threats early on by identifying and intercepting counterfeit items and tracing them back to the source. This enables them to locate and take action against counterfeiters, thereby removing the threat, building evidence to seek compensation and safeguarding your brand. Furthermore, these steps can minimize the expense of any litigation, if not avoid it altogether through settlement.
Who You Gonna Call?
If your business is vulnerable to counterfeiting, don’t take it lying down. Through strategic planning, you can seize control of your brand and put would-be thieves on notice that the risks of impersonating your product outweigh any rewards.
As experienced IP protectors who have saved clients millions in present and future dollars, Nexio Law Firm knows how to effectively shield your brand and enforce your rights. Counterfeiting is a crime that’s on the rise—but you don’t have to be a victim. Get the strength of Nexio behind you to keep fakers honest, so you can stay focused on growing your brand’s success.
About the Author
Imran F. Vakil is an intellectual property lawyer and business litigator. Having been attorney of record in over four hundred state and federal cases, TTAB actions, arbitrations, and mediations, Imran has expertise in the litigation of trademarks, trade dress, copyrights, trade secrets, patents, unfair competition and commercial disputes. With an excellent record, Imran has successfully generated tens of millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for his clients.