Counterfeiting is a major global issue. According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), it is the largest criminal enterprise in the world with sales amounting to $1.7 to $4.5 trillion per year, higher than either human or drug trafficking. Researchers estimate that China manufactures between 60 and 80 percent of the world’s false goods, with the majority purchased in North and South America.
The problem is particularly acute in the industrial sector: specifically for engines, spare parts, and assembly inputs. Fraudsters are creating counterfeit products and making them available at lower prices.
Given the dire reality, industrial firms are clamoring for anti-counterfeiting technology that will stop this. They want robust solutions that will protect their revenues, brand image, and customers.
Brand protection software is one such solution. It promises to make it substantially more challenging for firms and retailers to engage in fraud, protecting intellectual property.
Brand protection software comprises a set of digital tools that allow organizations to protect their intellectual property against infringements. Depending on the solution, it may protect your brand, design rights, color marks, trade names, patents and products. It helps firms fight counterfeiting, copyright piracy, trademark squatting, patent theft and social media impersonation. Solutions scan information sources on the internet and social media in real-time, scraping keywords that could indicate fraudulent activity.
Brand protection solutions have a similar objective to brand protection software. However, solutions are more all-encompassing, offering a range of services to defend industrial companies beyond just apps.
The type of services that you receive depend on your needs and the scale of your operations. Multinational protection services operate all over the world and typically serve large international producers (such as engine manufacturers). Smaller, more local firms who only sell locally might just use traditional legal firms to keep them safe.
Brand protecting services actively seek out, prevent and respond to any unauthorized uses of your brand. Specific examples include identification of counterfeit products, illicit retail trade and unauthorized use of trademarks. Just like brand protection software, the goal is to prevent your businesses from losing revenue, sales and brand equity.
Brand protection solutions typically use a four-point strategy to protect their clients: detection, validation, enforcement and reporting. Following this approach systematizes the brand safeguarding process and makes it easier to stub out illegal activities.
Detection involves searching for infringements, both online and in the real-world. Typically, solutions employ software to systematically look for illicit operators attempting to sell false parts under your brand’s name. Such methods help to uncover factories trying to replicate your products.
The next step is validation – identifying whether the alleged infringement is actually a violation of your company’s intellectual property. This part of the process prevents you from wrongly penalizing a legitimate company or individual – something that could harm your reputation.
The third step is enforcement. Brand protection services will take measures that actively stop any intellectual property rights infringement. Actions may include closing down rogue factories, removing product listings from ecommerce stores, and even actively preventing onward shipment of goods.
The last step is reporting. This is important because it provides you with actionable information you can take forward. Brand protection solutions produce analytics that you can use to find out where your brand is vulnerable to infringement and how you can improve it in the future.
According to an analysis by consulting firm Frost And Sullivan, counterfeiting could be causing global motor vehicle suppliers a combined loss of more than $45 billion. Electronics parts fraud may be costing the industry a massive $75 billion per year.
Thus, the consequences of not using brand protection in your business can be considerable. Counterfeiting doesn’t just mean that a few people are making money on the black market – it also creates harm in the real-world.
Here are some reasons why brand protection is so essential:
Fortunately, scalable, intelligent brand protection does exist for industrial companies wanting to ensure the integrity of their parts. Modern tech companies, such as Authena, are creating blockchain-enabled systems that make it virtually impossible for counterfeiters to commit fraud. Their solution is to pair tamper-proof near-field communication (NFC) tags and other IoT devices with a blockchain network containing an immutable record of industrial product information. This can include location, state of integrity, temperature, atmospheric pressure etc. The merging of these two anti counterfeiting technologies prevents practically all traditional counterfeit methods, protecting brands long-term.