With every step forward in technology, many illegal entities hitch a ride on human innovation to speed up their malicious intentions. They use the phenomenal connectivity of the internet and the vast reach of e-commerce to fast track the peddling of their counterfeit or fake products. We will discuss 8 best practices to combat the counterfeits later. But first, we shall explore the extent of this problem.

Expert Insight: With over 2 billion digital buyers worldwide, experts project that retail e-commerce sales will reach USD 4.9 trillion in 2021. The FBI, Interpol, World Customs Organization, and International Chamber of Commerce all agree that roughly 7-8% of world trade annually is composed of counterfeit goods.

The world has witnessed a dramatic increase in selling and buying fake goods as counterfeiters moved their rogue business online. Thus, the war against fake goods is now also being fought online.

Solutions that used to take days now only take seconds. Every human need conceivable now travels at the speed of information.

Compounding Threats of Counterfeits

Consumers face a startling threat of consuming fake goods. The quick distribution enabled by online transactions only compounds this threat. Unregulated and commonly subpar quality goods may compromise human health, cause serious injuries, or even demise; not to mention the money squandered for products that do not work properly, or even at all.

Capitalizing on Stolen Intellectual Property

The online sales of counterfeit products via globally established e-commerce platforms are increasingly imposing a negative economic impact on countless industries. And on a global level.

Manufacturers and brands who have painstakingly established themselves, face unfair competition due to similarly looking items being sold for a fraction of the original price. Besides a significant financial downturn, the sale and consumption of counterfeit goods tarnish the original public reputation and credibility.

8 Ways to Fight Counterfeit Sales Online

  1. Global Monitoring

    Counterfeiters conduct their illegal business in the global arena. In order to ascertain the extent of the problem, brands should take advantage of the same technology that illegal distributors use for their global trade.
  2. Vigilant Watch

    While huge e-commerce platforms are the logical place to begin monitoring, the battle against fake products does not end there. Illegal businesses always find new avenues to peddle their fake products. Brand owners should also look into paid promotions used by illegitimate sellers.
  3. Dynamic Action

    Illegal trade flourishes best when left in the dark. Constant reporting exposes its operations to the public. Engaging the followers to report illicit trade can also discourage further attacks.
  4. Fight On All Fronts

    Battling fake products is impossible if done individually. Brands can consolidate their efforts to take watch over a larger range. Moreover, E-commerce websites themselves, as well as paid advertising services, should be tapped to nip the bud before it grows more.
  5. Legal Consequences

    To tackle the problem fully, these reports should not just reach site administrators, authorities should also be informed of criminal prosecution. Brands that publicly denounce the counterfeits tend to be targeted less.
  6. Think Today

    Do not hesitate to start joining the efforts against counterfeits. The perfect moment to do so is always right now.
  7. Inform Your Audience

    Ask the people to avoid patronizing fake goods by informing them of its dangers. The decline in sales from dubious websites and questionable sources promoting evidently counterfeit goods via reputable e-commerce sites will also aid appropriate entities to identify and prosecute such illegal activities.
  8. Protect intelligently

    Besides constant vigilance, one of the best practices to adopt as an entrepreneur is to register your intellectual assets. By doing so, you are not only protecting your brand and its market credibility but more importantly, you are contributing to the official database used by local authorities to nab offenders.

Government Intervention & Mediation

Due to substantial fiscal loss brought about by the rise of fake goods in the global marketplace, governments are thankfully taking proactive policing approaches to curb such illegal practices. This also goes hand in hand with protecting and securing both consumer and business owners' rights.

Expert Insight:  Many governments placed regulations to persuade brand owners to register their intellectual assets. This is proven to be the most efficient way to combat counterfeits as you will have legitimate legal institutions representing and preserving your brand.

Beyond Government Policing

The proverbial crusade against fake goods must be faced on all fronts. The counterfeit-detection measures taken by international administrations would deem ineffective without the proactive participation from consumers and brand owners alike.

Conclusion: With Every Boon, A Bane is Born

The digital revolution is not on the way. It is here. And it is here to remain for the unforeseeable future. It has presented humanity with colossal benefits through unwavering connectivity and the exchange of information at inconceivable velocity.

However, there are people who exploit these to the detriment of others. There are steps we can take collectively as a community, to fight the rise of fake goods online.

As an internationally present intellectual property consultancy, we want to do our part in supporting the fight against the global phenomenon. There is still a lot to unpack and we always welcome those who want to better the way the world works.

Originally published 23 July 2020

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.