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Online counterfeiting of your brand: What are your options?

Jun 1, 2022 | Intellectual Property

The internet has made life infinitely easier in many ways, including making it easier for unscrupulous parties to make and sell counterfeit products. If someone has targeted your brand and is selling imitations, you need to know your options.

Tracking down counterfeiters

Depending on what products you sell, monitoring the internet for counterfeit sellers can involve routinely scanning sites like:

  • Amazon
  • eBay
  • Competitor websites
  • Etsy
  • Alibaba
  • Social media platforms

These sites make it easy for others to sell copies of protected brands. You can also conduct image searches and set up Google alerts to spot specific instances of counterfeiting.

Further, this in-depth report calls out e-commerce platforms that are notorious for allowing bad actors to facilitate counterfeiting.

Monitoring sales on these sites can be a demanding, time-consuming process. However, dedicating resources to the task – either by enlisting the services of a third-party or hiring in-house specialists – can help identify counterfeits online as quickly as possible.

Taking action

Once you identify fake products online, you have options for how to proceed. You can start with contacting site administrators to have the seller and their products taken down. However, the seller may just open up another shop under a different name. 

Thus, holding the counterfeiter criminally and civilly liable for infringing on your intellectual property can be worth exploring. Suing counterfeiters holds them accountable and helps you pursue financial compensation and damages for the costly impact on your brand.

Making things hard for counterfeiters

Preventing or stopping these damaging actions can be crucial in protecting your online reputation and brand identity. 

To accomplish this, you can:

  • Protect your products with trademarks, copyrights or patents
  • Alert consumers of the potential for counterfeit items
  • Secure global protection of your IP
  • Restrict sales to specific sites
  • Monitor new domain registrations and alert providers of fraudulent use

When customers get tricked into buying something they believe is a legitimate product and receive a substandard item, it can trigger diminished brand reputation and poor quality reviews. 

As such, taking counterfeiting seriously and aggressively pursuing action against bad actors can make your brand less desirable to these parties, protecting your business.

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