Brand Protection: What is it, why you should care, and how to do it right

When it comes to Brand Protection, many people think of it as something complex involving time-consuming admin tasks and expensive legal fees. But it doesn’t need to be that way.

Traditionally, companies have used either in-house lawyers or have contracted legal services to protect their brand and intellectual property (IP). But with more counterfeiters selling products through online marketplaces and social media, traditional solutions fall short in ensuring brands and IP are protected. 

However, despite the growing numbers of brands falling prey to bad actors, many companies still do not have an effective brand protection strategy in place. What this means is that counterfeiters can operate with very little risk, and brands affected suffer a multitude of negative consequences such as loss of sales and long-term reputational damages.

What is Brand Protection?

Every year, approximately $300 billion is lost globally to counterfeit goods and services.  Now, what if there was a way to protect your brand and IP against those who are ready to capitalize on your success?

Well, this process is also known as Brand Protection.

Brand protection is the process of protecting the IP of companies and their associated brands against counterfeiters, copyright pirates, and infringers of other types of IP, such as patents, design rights, color mark and trade dress. This is done not only to protect the loss of revenue from a company but also to protect a company’s IP, reputation and overall value.

Why is Brand Protection important for your company?

A strong brand is valuable. Over time a solid brand protection strategy can separate strong brands from the graveyard of one-hit-wonder companies. Failure to build, and more importantly protect, your brand reputation will reduce its value and ultimately damage your business’ reputation.

Common problems faced by brands without brand protection

Profit loss

Fall in sales as illegal products divert business

Harmed relationship with partners

Cheap fake products create unfair competition for your authorized distributors

Damaged brand reputation

Distorted user perception and health risks to consumers

Benefits of brand protection

Happier and trusting customers

Less customers’ complaints and stronger brand loyalty

More revenue

 Increase of gross profit you’d have otherwise lost to counterfeiters

Maintain a strong reputation

With a comprehensive solution in place, your reputation won’t suffer at the hands of others

Counterfeiting and intellectual property violation

In an effort to capitalize on your brand’s success, some sellers will create counterfeit versions of your products, this is also known as intellectual property infringements. This results in bad reviews, returns, and hurts your bottom line.

 

There are four major types of intellectual property infringements brand owners should be mindful of: trademark, copyright, patent and design infringements:

Trademark infringement

is an umbrella of unlawful or unauthorized use of a trademark generating confusion to consumers as per the source, endorsement or affiliation of the individual, brand owner or company’s goods or services to other types of attempts to take advantage of an established brand/trademark.

Copyright infringement

(aka. piracy) is the use of works protected by copyright law without permission for a usage where such permission is required, thereby infringing certain exclusive rights granted to the copyright holder, such as the right to: reproduce, distribute, display or perform the protected work or make derivative work.

Patent infringement

occurs when: a process; method; OR functionality; of a good has entered a prohibited space defined by one of the claims a registered patent, and the rightsholder is in position to determine such infringement by examining media associated to the advertising of the good or through a detailed comparison based on having the product at hand (test-purchase).

Design right infringement

happens when the overall ornamentation of a design; or at least 3 prominent design elements which contribute to the design’s overall ornamentations of a good are identical or substantially similar to a registered design or design patent.

Forms that brand abuse takes

Brand abuse can come in many forms, including these types of infringements:

Patent theft

Patents are legal protections given to inventive products that provide an innovative solution to a problem. Inventors who have created a new product are entitled to patent protection, as it forbids outside parties from using their designs.

Counterfeits

are products that imitate the original one from an authentic brand but is made unofficially, by external sources. The fake product will use the logos and trademarks of the authentic brand without permission, in order to deceive customers.

Replicas

are intended to be an identical copy of an authentic product made by a third party, which infringes on trademark and design IP. The words “replica” and “counterfeit” are often used interchangeably.

Trademark squatting

Trademark squatters register trademarks in bad faith with an intention to take advantage of the brand owners’ reputation. This can come in a number of forms, including foreign registration of marks belonging to brands yet to register abroad, and transliteration issues, like the Jordan/Qiaodan case.

Cybersquatting

refers to the practise of claiming domain names in order to take advantage of trademarks belonging to someone else, and typically to use those domains in bad-faith intent.

Rogue websites

are web pages created for malicious intent, to take advantage of other brand trademarks. In some cases to attempt and pass themselves off as the website authentic brand.

Brand Impersonation

is when someone deliberately poses in a social media or ecommerce platform, as another person, entity or brand, in a confusing or deceptive manner, with the intent to commit fraud, harass or otherwise take advantage of the brand’s image and reputation.

Choosing the right Brand Protection Services

There are a number of services that offer a wide range of protection, from multinational protection services to traditional legal firms or smaller tech based solutions. Whether you are choosing a tech or traditional based solution for your brand there are some key factors to consider before you select your solution.

You can also take advantage of our free Brand scan to analyse your level of counterfeit. 

The right brand protection service will prevent and respond to any cases of unauthorised trademark use. It therefore protects your brand from loss of revenue, declining your sales and crucial damage to your brand equity.

Here are 6 key metrics/considerations to have in mind when choosing a brand protection service

Scale

Is the brand protection service scalable according to the type and size of incidents that you have?

Reach

Are you looking to resolve a single case or multiple ones at the same time? Or do you just need a one-shot protection?

Efficiency

Speed in removing infringements is crucial in a brand protection solution, to stop the effects of counterfeiting and regain brand control.

Reporting

A good system should do more than simply detect infringements – it should be able to report in detail and highlight websites and geographical areas of particular risk.

Auto-learning

The best Brand Protection services should learn from its search results, using data to stay up-to-date with keywords and identify future threats to your brand.

Industry expertise

A great solution should include expert analysts that can direct the technology and predict new trends.

Where should you protect your brand

Sales of counterfeit goods online via ecommerce sites and social media networks are a large and growing problem. That’s why you should take steps to track and understand how online counterfeiters operate and attract customers based on your various online trading channels. Best-in-class brand protection services should include the monitoring of the following online channels:

Marketplaces

Marketplaces are one of the most important online sources of potential intellectual property infringements.

Social Media

Social media has become an under-reported but vital hub for counterfeiters very quickly.

Rogue websites

These stand-alone websites can usually appear to customers as discount or outlet sites to justify the products’ low price.

App Stores

IP infringements may also occur in app stores and extensions.

Brand Protection technology

There are many brand protection services you can use to protect your brand whilst you focus on core areas of your business. You can either go with traditional services like law firms or rely on more tech-based solutions to automate the process of brand protection. With more of your time freed up, you might be able to hit Q3 objectives in Q2, instead of the other way around. In short, brand protection technology allows you to grow your business by eliminating manual tasks in 4 simple ways.

Red Points’ approach to online brand protection

Detect

Identify potential infringements across marketplaces and sites through our continuous bot-powered searcherever they may be.

Validate

Validate infringements manually or set up automation rules that confirm IP infringements for you

Enforce

Leverage our automation to instantly start the enforcement process for counterfeits

Report

See the impact of your brand protection actions through performance dashboards and reports

Benefits of leveraging brand protection technology

In today’s fast-paced world of ecommerce, manually searching and removing counterfeits simply won’t cut it. Employing brand protection technology that automates the huge amount of simple, repetitive tasks that lawyers and other brand protection specialists are not necessary for can go a long way. Automating also means counterfeit items for sale online can be dealt with far quicker than with a traditional, manual process. For more information check Red Points’ Brand Protection solution.

Get your time back

Focus on your core tasks. Invest just a few minutes a week to oversee your brand protection results and relevant cases.

Hit your target

Scan the internet 24/7, process a high volume of incidents, and take action right away thanks to automation.

Rinse & Repeat

Keep track of all your Brand Protection actions, leverage historical data, and make better informed business decisions

Request a demo

Learn in 15 minutes how we can protect your brand against online intellectual property infringements