Online markets are growing fast and the popularity of eCommerce websites has seen an unprecedented surge during the pandemic. According to Statista:
“In 2020, retail e-commerce sales worldwide amounted to 4.28 trillion US dollars and e-retail revenues are projected to grow to 5.4 trillion US dollars in 2022. Online shopping is one of the most popular online activities worldwide.”
Even for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) without sophisticated websites, eCommerce marketplaces now provide the opportunity to sell to the world. Having an online presence has become critical to all business ventures and many smaller companies and individuals have realized that they have to move online in order to compete.
In this article, we examine trademark and brand protection challenges for companies that surround online sales and marketing, and offer brand owners and stewards proactive solutions to help them to protect their valuable assets online against counterfeiting during the upcoming holiday shopping season.
Unregistered Trademarks and Squatters
The sharp rise of international online markets has seen many goods purchased by consumers through a variety of channels — before the brands have been registered by the owners. Many businesses initially forgo the trademark registration process and begin to sell their products through global purchase channels on eCommerce platforms so that they can enter international markets early. This can be a risky strategy.
When the brand owners then start to try to file their trademarks in the jurisdictions where they are trading, they sometimes discover that their brands have already been registered by trademark squatters. This practice is particularly prevalent in China. To help avoid this risk, it is important for brand owners to file their trademark applications early on in the process to avoid disappointment.
Digital Brand Protection Challenges
Once you have run a trademark search and have successfully registered your trademark the focus now shifts to online brand protection. The powerful, global reach that external digital marketing channels like search engine marketing, affiliate marketing, remarketing, social media, and online marketplaces can offer companies to target customers means that the stakes have never been higher for brand owners to manage trademark protection on these channels properly in order to benefit fully from the investment that they have put into establishing and growing the brand.
This rise in the use of online marketplaces and shopping platforms by companies to market and sell their products is mirrored by an increase in the volume of fraudsters and counterfeiters on these platforms — seeking to piggyback off the hard work and investment of brand owners.
Holiday Season shopping events at this time of the year — such as Singles’ Day, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday — present excellent opportunities for genuine brands. Singles’ Day 2020 alone saw sales of some $115 billion — with online sales in the U.S. on Black Friday experiencing year-on-year growth of 22% last year. But these holiday shopping events also come attached with a risk from increased IP infringement.
Now, more than ever, having a robust brand protection strategy in place that can monitor these online marketplaces and digital marketing channels is key.
IP crime is one of the biggest threats facing brand owners today. The rise in eCommerce and the globalization of counterfeiting can make the act of creating a strong anti-counterfeiting strategy challenging for brand owners.
Counterfeiting jeopardizes not only the profits and reputation of corporations, but also the health and safety, and loyalty of consumers.
Counterfeit goods only benefit criminals.
Learn more about our online brand protection solutions or get in touch to talk to one of our experts.