15 April 2024

CHORUS: For A Coordinated Defence Against Counterfeiting



Rouse is an IP services business focused on emerging markets. We operate as a closely integrated network to provide the full range of intellectual property services, from patent and trade mark protection and management to commercialisation, global enforcement and anti-counterfeiting.
For more than a decade, our CHORUS software platform has been consolidating enforcement data to help brand-protection teams illuminate blind spots in their anti-counterfeiting strategies.
Worldwide Intellectual Property
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CHORUS software platform has been supporting the fight against counterfeiting.

For more than a decade, our CHORUS software platform has been consolidating enforcement data to help brand-protection teams illuminate blind spots in their anti-counterfeiting strategies.

As brand owners know, the fight against counterfeiting is complex and never-ending.

A counterfeit case in any part of the world is just a single link in an invisible chain of trade – from manufacturing to distribution – that may have originated in China, Turkey or another counterfeiting hotspot. Brand owners tackle the challenge with a constant stream of online takedowns, customs seizures, and raids on factories and warehouses.

Keeping track of all this work can be a massive undertaking for a brand. There is a risk that the cases become siloed between different countries, or between online and offline activity. Without unifying all the data, anti-counterfeit work may be reactive and lack effectiveness. This is why Rouse developed CHORUS – an online platform that brand-protection teams can use to collect, analyse and share enforcement data.

"One of our clients receives around 4,000 customs-seizure notifications every year. Their online takedowns are more than that every single day. This is a huge amount of data for a brand owner to manage," says Chris Bailey, Head of UK and EU Enforcement at Rouse.

"First, where are you putting all this data? And more importantly, what are you doing with it? You can use CHORUS simply to track counterfeit activity, and for management reporting and budgeting. But the platform really performs well if you put some resources into analysis aimed at identifying patterns and insights," explains Bailey.

Data-driven enforcement and reporting

CHORUS integrates a Microsoft PowerBI dashboard that generates visualisations – such as heat maps and charts – to help with tracking cases and allocating enforcement resources, as well as flagging possible connections between parties, for example.

Since Rouse launched CHORUS in 2014, almost 150,000 counterfeit cases have been recorded on the platform. More than 45% of these are customs cases. On average, some 7,000 new customs cases are added to CHORUS each year.

"This gives Rouse and our clients a panoramic view of anti-counterfeiting activity worldwide," says Bailey. "Some brand owners record their IP with customs authorities in dozens of countries around the world, but in reality only a small minority of authorities make regular detentions. CHORUS can save a great deal of time and money by helping you to focus on just a few active jurisdictions."

Use of the platform is complementary for companies that work extensively with Rouse as their enforcement service provider. Brand owners that are not pre-existing Rouse clients can licence the use of CHORUS for a fee.

In-house brand-protection teams may manage the CHORUS data themselves or outsource the task to Rouse. Some have their global counsel upload data regularly, with the Rouse team supervising to ensure accuracy and consistency. Much of this day-to-day management is handled by Rouse Paralegal, Heidi Turk.

"CHORUS is a useful tool for identifying patterns of counterfeiting activity around the world. We can track manufacturers and importers across different cases, linking them together to uncover recurring instances of infringement," explains Turk. "One of our clients also uses CHORUS data visualisation to report its enforcement activities to management and shareholders. This is very helpful in showing the scale of counterfeiting and justifying the funding needed for enforcement."

Using data analysis to guide strategy

In a recent case example, Rouse reviewed CHORUS records of some 3,000 customs seizures in Europe and North America, finding that the database contained more than 600 leads back to exporters in China. The brand owner had not previously put resources into tracing the source of customs seizures. Rouse's team in China performed some filtering to identify several viable targets that were still active. This prompted the brand to change its thinking about how leads should be pursued across geographies.

While some brand owners have dedicated in-house analysts, many cannot afford that luxury. Rouse thus provides project-based analysis of enforcement data to solve particular problems. Analysis of CHORUS data is the specialism of Rouse Brand Protection Consultant, Martin Evans.

"It's surprising what we can find in a relatively short time from delving into case data. Brand protection teams often do not have time for this, and may put the task into the 'too difficult or too expensive' bucket. But we have seen that even a focused, short-term analysis project to verify links between counterfeiting parties, for example, can produce valuable results that may lead to a change in strategy," explains Evans.

Looking ahead, Rouse is developing CHORUS by automating data entry, improving the image library, and integrating additional data feeds from other enforcement vendors. An emphasis on automation aims to make data entry as seamless as possible, freeing up brand owners and their agents around the world to focus on using CHORUS as a management and analysis tool.

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.

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