Rise in Counterfeit Goods Imports – Protect Your Brand!
One of the major issues facing EU brand owners is the explosion in the illicit trade in counterfeit goods.
A recent study by the OECD and the EU Intellectual Property Office [i] shows that imports of counterfeit and pirated products into the EU rose to EUR 121 billion in 2016, representing up to 6.8% of EU imports, compared with 5% of EU imports in 2013. [ii]
We are currently seeing a shift from EU Customs officials seizing counterfeit clothing such as T-shirts and footwear towards perfumes and fragrances. This is likely due to the fact that perfumes are less expensive to produce, have a higher retail price, and thereby a higher profit margin.
Fortunately, there are a 3 simple steps that can be taken by brand owners to tackle the issue:
1. Review your trade mark portfolio – regular reviews of your IP portfolio are essential to ensure that your valuable IP is identified and protected.
2. Register your trade mark – obtaining a trade mark registration for your brand name is an essential tool, as it can be used to motivate the customs authorities and local trading standards service to police your brand, and will give basis for taking court action against infringers.
3. Police your brand – consider establishing a customs surveillance at local or European level, depending upon your market and territorial scope of your trade mark portfolio. Customs and trading standards officers will then monitor imports and local markets etc., seizing goods that they suspect may be counterfeit, and thereby removing them from the market. Also consider establishing a system to monitor the online marketplace to identify potential infringements.
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Mike Vettese has a wealth of experience in this area, having acted for some of the world’s most prestigious brands, celebrities, and performing artists. Please get in contact for an initial consultation.
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[ii] This does not include pirated products that are produced and consumed within the EU itself, or counterfeit digital products being distributed via the internet.