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Black Friday. Cyber Monday. Holiday Flash Deals.

The peak shopping season and its online buying frenzy are upon us, and with it, the proliferation of knock-offs. As holiday foot traffic to brick-and-mortar stores continues to decline, consumers are sitting at home shopping online adding to the growing trend of social and mobile shoppers.

The internet has become a major enabler in the sale of online counterfeit products to a global marketplace making online brand protection a complex and ever-changing issue. According to World Trademark Review, one in every four online purchases involves pirated goods. As retailers prepare for the holiday sales windfall, which accounts for one-third of all online spending of the year, counterfeiters are positioned to lure buyers into purchasing their cheaper imitations. According to the National Retail Federation’s 2019 Forecast, 55% of all holiday purchases will take place online.

With this in mind, you need to augment your online protection strategies during this time of year. If you have in-house legal counsel, they should be at the front line of your company’s brand protection efforts. They should take the lead on protecting trademarks, while also working with other business areas to define and implement brand protection strategies for new and existing products.
To get started, take the following measures:

1. Communications

  • Step up your communications to consumers about the danger of counterfeit products. Explain how a fake, made with inferior components, can be dangerous or bad for one’s health or the environment.
  • Lead consumers to where they can purchase your product. Identify authorized dealers and list them on your web site and through direct communication, such as e-mail.
  • Inform the public and your employees of any known infringement – how to distinguish the counterfeit from the original. Discuss the protection of your IP with your employees and distributors to help them understand what to look for and what to do when they find a counterfeit product.

2. Be Proactive

  • Monitor all the marketplaces your product has a presence to identify any possible infringements. Include searching sites such as eBay, Amazon, Alibaba, and Craigslist, but also social sites such as Facebook, which are becoming popular sites for counterfeiters.
  • Create a reporting system to allow your customers and business partners to report IP infringements, such as a dedicated page on your company’s web site.
  • Be active and enforce your rights as the owner. Consistently work with customs and online platforms to tackle the distribution and promotion of counterfeit materials. The more active you are in enforcing your rights, the more you will deter a counterfeiter from knocking-off your brand.

If you need help in registering your IP, protecting your online brand or enforcing your rights as a trademark owner, the professionals at Ference have the knowledge and skill to implement the perfect strategies.