What Should Your Business should Do to fight counterfeit goods?

With the current reopening economy Countries are gradually opening the industries and borders.
The covid-19 has completely transformed our life, work style and shopping habits. Now more consumers are staying home so there has been a major shift to e-commerce. Although it is impossible to predict the long-term effect of covid-19 on retail industry. With the rise of e-commerce there are new threats as this time is being used as an opportunity by fraudsters.

The COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc across all industries for essential/ non-essential products, thereby creating opportunities for counterfeiters who are taking advantage of the massive shift to panic buying among consumers worldwide.

Change in buying patterns
Right now the production is almost nill hence there are great chances that the market may be flooded with counterfeit goods and customers end up buying fake products. The current situation has caused, consumers to purchase goods both essential and non-essential in bulk without doing their due diligence. This change in purchase pattern will rise to counterfeiting due to high profits based on increased prices and bulk purchases by consumers of low quality goods.

It may be due to:
• counterfeiters directly manipulate the market through online stores, groups etc.
• companies aren’t able to complete due diligence process;

What should you do to fight counterfeit goods?
As per the current market trend the counterfeit products and services will continue to grow resulting into decreased market share for legitimate brand owners and hurting their brand image. The bugger problem is the harm to the consumer due to low quality/sub standard goods.

Every brand has to take measures to combat fakes and to protect its brand in the market.

The following strategies might help:.
Brand Protection and Anti-Counterfeiting Strategies:
Conduct an internal audit for a standard operating procedure for brand security- This assessment will help the companies to determine how their brands and products are protected in terms of legal security. Pay good attention to the distribution network.
Key intellectual property rights registry– Ensure that all intellectual property rights are registered and corrected in countries where the products are designed, produced, assembled and marketed. Until and unles the intellectual property is registered, companies cannot enforce removal of a fraudulent listing.

Routine monitoring of unauthorized use of your brands.
1. Online surveillance– Internet searches for proof of infringing activity are important. The de-listing or deleting infringing listings or domains in full and on a regular basis is necessary.
2. Physical surveillance– Companies should monitor major retailers and purchase store and legitimate sites to determine whether customer orders are being fulfilled with authentic products and also, monitoring products that are returned shall also help to identify the source in case of fakes.

Targeted enforcement.
1. Identify the market place where the fake goods are being sold.
2. Send cease and desist demands to infringers. If letters to cease and desist do not rectify the issue, and when particular counterfeiting activities are detected, different levels of enforcement should be considered.
3. Keep your consumers updated. Train & Educate your consumers so as to how to know if a product is fake or not.

Quick and effective communication can build brand loyalty.
To control the issue of counterfeiting amid COVID-19, companies need to have smarter enforcement, greater communication and exchange of knowledge. The ongoing battle against counterfeiters needs a 360 degree cooperation of manufacturers, IPR holders and brand owners, e-commerce sites, search engines and consumers.

Our legal system is already strong and diligent enough to enforce Intellectual property rights.

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