Much time and effort goes into carefully crafting a recognised, trusted, and valued brand. The brand is at the heart of a business and the protection of it should be high on the list of concerns.
Business owners need to be on guard for unscrupulous individuals using the brand and illegally copying and distributing counterfeited goods. Counterfeiters take advantage of the company’s trusted brand name and reputation for quality by producing inferior imitation goods. The effect on the reputation of the brand can also impact negatively on the company’s bottom line. Concern goes beyond the financials, however, as there are often genuine concerns over the safety of such replicas. It is, therefore, vital that concerns over this sort of behaviour are monitored and swift action is taken if it is discovered.
From technology to art, fashion to medication, there is barely any product which is not potentially susceptible to counterfeiters. And with counterfeit goods becoming increasingly convincing and the appetite for cheaper imitations growing, it has never been more important to ensure the product is protected, and that owners know the steps to take should the brand fall victim to this activity. Such products are now not limited to being sold ‘underground’, with more and more counterfeited products finding their way onto trusted global online marketplaces. Due to this, counterfeiting is also an area of concern for retailers who need to be on their guard against stocking such items which could have a disastrous impact on their own reputation.
There are certain steps a company can take to mitigate the risk of your brand falling victim:
- Always register trademarks in all countries in which you distribute your products. If appropriate, ensure the product is patent protected.
- Use as many visual signals as possible to authenticate the product. This could be a recognisable, yet difficult to reproduce label stitched into clothing, a hologram on packaging, or a product key that purchasers enter into the website to verify that they have purchased a genuine product.
- Educate employees, retailers, and customers over the threat of counterfeit goods. By making the core audience aware that products are at risk of being counterfeited means they are more likely to be on their guard when purchasing. Include a list of authorised retailers on the company’s website and make it easy for customers or retailers to report any concerns over fake products. This ‘on the ground’ insight could lead to action being taken against counterfeiters much sooner
- Use all the tools at your disposal to uncover any suspicious activity – conduct searches both online and offline to see where the product is being sold and vouch for its authenticity.
- Take action! Once it is suspected that a brand is threatened by this sort of illegal activity, business owners must engage the help of a specialist who can take the necessary action to have this operation shut down swiftly.
BTG Advisory’s Investigations team can provide the intelligence needed to build a case proving theft of proprietary material through a covert profiling of all third-party suppliers, distributors and manufacturers anywhere around the world. Following the investigation, we will work towards the closure of such rogue operations as swiftly as possible.