The report should inspire brands to develop an anti-counterfeiting strategy

The report also pointed out that the production of illicit food and drink products has become more professional. Counterfeit products are identified throughout the supply and distribution chain. The report warns that counterfeit foods and drinks pose a great health risk, as they are often produced in unsanitary conditions and the quality of the ingredients is substandard, sometimes even toxic. Counterfeit cosmetics and toys can also contain toxic ingredients.

“The costs to brands associated with counterfeiting cannot be underestimated,” Dennis said. “Not only is there a direct impact on the bottom line of lost sales, but there can be real health and safety concerns for consumers and a real risk of lasting brand reputational damage. For these reasons, companies cannot afford to simply ignore this problem.”

Counterfeit products are sold both online and in physical marketplaces, but the online distribution of counterfeit products has been boosted by the pandemic. According to the report, online marketplaces are the “main distribution channels for counterfeit goods in the EU”. The report suggests that counterfeit products are also increasingly offered on social media platforms, in videos and through advertisements in instant messaging services. However, counterfeiters do not always rely on selling online. According to the report, they sometimes even manage to infiltrate the legal supply chain with their counterfeit products.

Online brand protection specialist Tom Nener said: “The report highlights that online sales are the main source of counterfeit products. Businesses need to monitor major global online markets – “withdrawals” are a simple but effective method of cutting off the main route to market. for these products.

Although the majority of counterfeits on the EU market are produced primarily in Asia, the report points out that “domestic manufacturing within the EU is a growing trend”. This assessment is based on the fact that the number of counterfeit packaging materials and semi-finished products entering the EU has increased.

Brand owners can take legal action against third parties who misuse their portfolio of intellectual property rights, including registered designs and trademarks.

A registered design protects the appearance of products, including shape and surface decoration. It will be infringed by anyone who manufactures or sells a product whose design “does not produce a different overall impression on the informed user”. A registered mark will be infringed if an identical or confusingly similar mark is used on an identical or similar product, or on a different product where the mark is sufficiently well known to have reputation.

“Companies need to develop and implement an effective anti-counterfeiting strategy,” Nener said. “There are a number of very effective anti-counterfeiting tactics available to businesses that can be part of a tailored enforcement approach.”

Pinsent Masons has developed a brand protection platform, Alteria, which allows businesses to monitor a brand online and allows takedown requests to be made to global online marketplaces and social media platforms with the click of a button.

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