Protecting Your Brand from Counterfeiting
Why Counterfeiting is Bad for Your Business
Counterfeit goods and brand theft costs companies billions in lost revenues annually, and the problem seems to be getting worse, with some experts estimating that the trend is growing at an astonishing 15 percent each year.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), about 10 percent of the global drug trade is funded by the sale and trade of counterfeit products. Organised crime and terrorism have also been linked to the counterfeit market. There are plenty of other ways brand theft can impact you and your customers:
• It’s hard to compete with criminals manufacturing and selling fake products, often at a discount. Genuine manufacturers are often forced to cut jobs, putting hundreds of people out of work.
• Lost revenue is just one of the financial pitfalls of counterfeiting; the other is reduced funds for new product research and development. Your company could be held back if your brand is hijacked by counterfeiters.
• For consumers, the danger of buying fake products can be serious. Some goods may be dangerous, hazardous to health, or cause accidents.
• Consumers are also left out in the cold after the sale, as fake manufacturers don’t offer guarantees or customer support. This can damage your legitimate brand image.
• Dealing in fake goods can lead to higher taxes because counterfeiters don’t pay tax; the difference is often passed along to consumers in the form of higher prices for the genuine article.
How the Law Protects You
It is illegal to apply a registered trade mark to goods or to make copies of trade-marked goods without the explicit permission of the trade mark owner. This even applies to intellectual property. If you discover that your brand has been stolen, you have a right to bring legal action against the counterfeiters.
Even if your products or services are not subject to trade mark protection, it is sometimes still possible to bring something called a “passing-off” action. This means that another party has been found to be dealing in goods or attaching marks to goods without the permission of the person already trading those goods and marks legitimately.
Copyrighted goods like computer software, electronic media, and artistic designs are also illegal to copy without permission. If you own copyrights and discover that your goods are being copied and sold without your consent, you have legal recourse to go after the counterfeiters.
Protecting Your Brand
There are many companies out there offering brand protection solutions. Organisations like Devatas International provide a wide range of professional services to help business owners combat counterfeiting and protect their brand image. Outsourcing these services to experienced professionals is often the most effective way to secure your brand.
The most common protection schemes are overt, covert, and semi-covert.
Overt protection usually involves a clearly distinguishable mark of authenticity. These can be holograms, colour-shifting ink, specially-formulated films, or a host of other technologies applied to retail goods. Covert protection schemes must be authenticated; these include things like hidden images and bar codes, invisible security crystals, forensic coding, and more. Semi-covert protection combines both overt and covert solutions, blending visible and invisible technologies. This gives legitimate manufacturers a customisable level of control over their brands.