Brand Protection is the art of combating "Brand Abuse"
Brand abuse can take various forms, such as counterfeiting, infringement, copyright piracy, design piracy, trademark squatting, patent theft, media impersonation, etc. Smart brand protection strategies can surmount brand abuse by preventing revenue loss and protecting a company's image, reputation, and overall brand value!
Brand protection has become an integral part of any business that wishes to tackle illicit traders and online counterfeiters. In 2017, Global Financial Integrity found that counterfeiting was the most lucrative crime ($923 million to $1.13 trillion). Despite this astonishing number, when it comes to enforcement, counterfeiting remains the last priority for many businesses, making it a low-risk, high-reward crime.
Brand abuse, especially by means of counterfeiting, is a global concern, impacting virtually every industry around the world ranging from electronics, cosmetics, clothing, and automotive parts to medical supplies. Consumers can't tell the difference between authentic and counterfeit products because of how identical they are. Counterfeiters take advantage of this fact to trick unwary buyers.
Moreover, fake goods are often of poor quality making it easy for consumers to offer these goods at low prices, resulting in increased consumer demand. Because of both rising consumer demand for counterfeit products and weak enforcement, anti-counterfeiting has emerged as a stealthy threat to the integrity of brands everywhere.
THE CONSEQUENCES OF FAILING TO PROTECT YOUR BRAND FROM COUNTERFEITERS
There is a real problem with the growing number of counterfeiters, and it needs to be fixed so that companies can preserve their revenues. Counterfeiting isn't only about making a quick buck on the dark web. The effects of counterfeiting on a brand's reputation can be disastrous.
A few such effects are listed below:
- If counterfeiters are able to deliver goods and services at a lower price than the original and authentic brand, it can lead to a drop in sales.
- Low-quality fake goods can have adverse effects which are beyond the control of the authentic brand holder.
- The brand's hard-earned reputation is tarnished, which is generally achieved through years of concerted investment of time, money, and resources.
- If a brand does not have a brand protection strategy in place, its value can quickly deteriorate, leading to customer loss as people seek out more reputable, quality, and trustworthy brands.
- Consumers end up getting frustrated when they learn that they have been duped into buying a counterfeit product, resulting in them straying away from the brand altogether
HOW CAN YOU PROTECT YOUR BRAND?
What distinguishes a well-known brand from a lesser-known brand? A brand advantage could be having a higher possibility of client loyalty to the company's goods and services. A well-known brand usually commands a greater price than similar goods and services on the market. When unique brand names become generic terms like Aspirin, JCB, and Xerox, brand recognition reaches new heights. The foundation for building a long-lasting brand is built into the company's intellectual property, which can be considered its most valuable asset. When registering IP rights over a brand, it is critical to consider a company's global market presence as well as its long-term aspirations. However, branding entails more than just registering one's IP; it also entails defending and enforcing one's IP rights. In United States Polo Association, Inc. v. Polo Ralph Lauren USA Holdings, Inc., the U.S.P.A. was forced to shift its use of the double horseman mark because the Court determined that consumers would believe the U.S.P.A.'s products were created by Ralph Lauren. This highlights the association of a certain product with a brand name and the importance of protecting the brand's value and image.
An effective brand protections strategy usually involves the following steps:
- Detection – Locating infringements-both online and offline. Online threats can be in the forms of fake e-commerce listings, rogue websites, social media impersonation, domain name squatting, fake search results on search engines, etc.
- Validation – Ensuring that products classified as infringers are, in fact, infringers. This is a vital step to ensure that legitimate businesses are not penalized while attempting to defend IP rights.
- Enforcement — This stage entails eliminating IP infringements from the internet by removing goods from online marketplaces, shutting down websites, or terminating the impersonating social media account.
- Reporting – The final phase in the trademark protection service is reporting. It entails providing meaningful and actionable information to the brand owners in order to keep track of the state of their IP online and then making recommendations to improve the brand protection process in the future.
These services provide a structured brand protection strategy that would benefit any brand in safeguarding its IP.
DOES YOUR BUSINESS NEED BRAND PROTECTION?
If your company sells a branded product or service, you must implement a brand protection strategy to avoid the hazards posed by brand abuse.
Businesses that invest a lot of money, time, and effort into developing a well-known brand are the ones who are most vulnerable because they rely on their brand recognition, style, quality, and popular products and services to be identifiable in their sector. It is extremely essential that every business develops a brand protection strategy to tackle counterfeiting, copyright piracy, trademark squatting, and other types of IP infringements.
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.