In today’s expansive consumer landscape, brands utilise diverse avenues like sponsored social media ads and influencer endorsements. Despite evolving brand communication, counterfeit goods pose a persistent challenge, especially in high-end sectors like fashion, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. As online availability grows, tracking and taking action against infringers become increasingly complex.

Safeguarding intellectual property (IP) rights is central to any anti-counterfeit policy. Companies often register and enforce trademarks, copyrights, and even employ advanced packaging designs with hidden markers. Some brands secure registered design rights or patents for unique designs, providing additional protection.

Ensuring a clear chain of title to IP rights is advisable, involving written copyright assignments with design companies. Legal action against counterfeiters is a recourse for IP infringement, often requiring dual action in manufacturing and selling countries. Brands may face a complex chain of entities involved in counterfeit sales, necessitating thorough identification and action against each part.

In the UK, legal action ranges from letters of claim to proceedings in different court tracks based on the claim’s worth. AI investments offer a proactive defense against IP infringement. Anti-counterfeiting platforms, blockchain, and image recognition technology aid in identifying and preventing counterfeit goods.

AI-powered image recognition compares authentic and online product images, while blockchain traces the entire production and distribution process. Anti-counterfeiting platforms monitor various channels and improve their detection capabilities with AI. Brands can also use AI to scan social media for counterfeit mentions and take necessary actions.

Addressing online infringement involves utilising platforms’ takedown procedures and, if needed, obtaining website blocking orders. Consumer education plays a crucial role, with brands engaging customers through social media to highlight the risks of purchasing counterfeit goods and emphasize the authenticity of their products.

As counterfeit goods evolve and opportunities to sell them increase, brands must consistently adapt strategies to protect both their intellectual property and reputation.

If you’d give to book an appointment to discuss your business and brand and how best to protect it, please email or book an appointment with our Head of IP Mitch Willmott on for your free consultation.

Written by Michaela Cusack

Director NBR Group.

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