Are you the owner of a lucrative brand? Actually, your brand does not need to be lucrative. A better question to ask is whether you are a brand owner who sells products and services linked to the brand? Do you run the risk of losing sales because counterfeit replicas of your products are being sold across the globe? 

The unfortunate reality is that counterfeiting is now the largest criminal enterprise in the world. Wade Shepard, in his article titled, “Meet The Man Fighting America’s Trade War Against Chinese Counterfeits” notes that “virtual armies of foreign manufacturers… [produce] …counterfeits and inject them into the U.S. market to the extent that American companies would be put out of business.” 

Shepard goes onto state that not only are US companies going under, but employees are losing their jobs, shoppers are purchasing poor quality replicas, and some of the world’s most prestigious brands are fighting a losing battle to ensure that their brand’s reputation is negatively affected by these counterfeit products. 

Unfortunately, the Warren business lawyer concurs with this statement and goes onto note that if something is not done to prevent the large-scale counterfeiting of goods, the current situation is going to continue to spiral out of control with disastrous consequences both for the American consumer as well as the US retail sector.

A 2017 report prepared for Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) and the International Trademark Association (INTA) “estimates that trade in counterfeit and pirated products accounted for as much as 2.5% of the value of international trade, or $461 Billion” (USD).

What is brand protection? 

Therefore, the question that begs is, how do you protect your brand from being destroyed by counterfeiters and pirates? 

By way of answering this question, let’s first consider a succinct definition of brand protection:  

Wikipedia.com defines brand protection as the “process and set of actions that a right holder undertakes to prevent third parties from using its intellectual property without permission, as this may cause loss of revenue and, usually, more importantly, destroy brand equity, reputation, and trust.”

In other words, as a brand owner, it is critical to protect your brand. Otherwise, as described above, it could end up costing you your business and your reputation. 

Brand Infringement Types: Counterfeiting

One of the ways to protect your brand is to gain an understanding of the different types of brand infractions. 

Therefore, let’s look at the most significant brand infringement type: Counterfeiting.

This is one of the most common infringement types, and it entails the manufacturing or distribution of fake goods under your brand name and without your permission. A good example of counterfeit products and how they are sold under the brand name is sneakers that are made by Nike. CNN.com published an article on 9 October 2019 stating that the US Customs and Border Protection officers had seized 14 806 pairs of fake Nike shoes, that were worth more than $2 million (the genuine product valuation).