The Coronavirus pandemic created a surge of internet counterfeiting for which IP protection is the strongest deterrent. One lesson we can all glean from 2020 is that things can change drastically and without warning. The global pandemic has radically changed our everyday “normal” creating new opportunities, both beneficial and detrimental. These changes have also generated new concerns and responsibilities. Counterfeit goods were already a billion-dollar industry, and COVID-19 made it worse as counterfeiters are taking advantage of the current spike in e-commerce. The pandemic has placed a strain on supply chains, allowing counterfeit listings to become more rampant on the internet. Demand is outweighing supply giving counterfeiters an unparalleled opportunity for illicit trade. Because of these uncertain economic times, consumers are tempted to save money by purchasing cheap products online. Not only do counterfeit goods allow for unfair competition, but it also encourages and supports the use of:
- Unfair or illegal labor practices, including slavery and child labor;
- Lower quality components that can cause harm to end-users; and
- Funding for illegitimate activities, such as organized crime and terrorism.
Even before COVID-19 fakes proliferated the online marketplace, including:
- Fake test kits and masks;
- Fake medicines and cures;
- Fake web sites for non-existent charities;
- Financial fraud schemes: phony government sites offering stimulus or unemployment assistance; and
- Fake news giving rise to misinformation and rumors.
As a brand owner, it is apparent that you cannot stop criminals from hijacking your brand, especially during the tremendous influx we are now experiencing. Your intellectual property counsel can prevent counterfeiters from succeeding by providing legal protection and enforcement in day-to-day business and when a conflict arises. Your legal team must implement preventative measures including:
- Keeping abreast of emerging cybersecurity laws;
- Ensuring timely intellectual property filings; and
- IP Protection by consistently enforcing IP rights through diligent monitoring and pursuit of litigation resulting in a deterrent to possible infringers.
The transformation to a remote business world has also given rise to intellectual property theft – another concern placed on the general counsel’s plate. Even with the Shop Safe Act assigning accountability, the breadth of criminal activity is an overwhelming task. Is your business legal team appropriately equipped during these challenging times? The professionals at Ference & Associates know what legal measures are needed to prevent counterfeiting and infringement. They have successfully taken action against counterfeiters sending the message of zero tolerance and maintaining the integrity of legitimate brands. They can be reached at 412.741.8400 or you can send us a message.