Brand piracy during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

The COVID-19 pandemic crisis has affected the lives of millions of people around the world. The extreme amount of news coverage surrounding the novel coronavirus has created a new danger for strong brand names.

Trademarks are effective communication tools that make it easy for the customers to find a business and distinguish it from its competitors. But these valuable assets are misused by brand pirates aiming to confuse customers and gain market share.

Which brands are in danger? As we are facing a pandemic, the world of the medical products is on high alert.

The methods of impersonation include: efforts to obtain personal identifying information or the payment of money, registration of identical or similar trademarks to make their actions look legitimate(cybersquatting) and unauthorized co-branding. Finding unused top-level domains, like .net instead of .com or simply adding words on to the brand’s domain name, are common tactics. After owning the domain, the brand-pirate may profit by hosting ads, or offer counterfeit dangerous products.

Tips for fighting brand piracy:

1.Register all your intellectual property rights (trademarks, patents and designs) in all your key markets. The registration is paving the way to legally enforce your right against the fraudsters.

2.Start using a watch service from your own businesspeople, who have the most knowledge about brand usage standards. Watch services can work as the guard social media and online marketplaces for copycats.

3.Having a businessperson (assisting by a counsel) able to communicate with the offending party. This is a thrifty approach that can be used, as a base for later formal legal action. If this request is unsuccessful, then a variety of other tools are available, including domain name arbitration, ecommerce and social media takedown processes, and of course civil litigation.

4.The International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition (IACC), could be helpful with its special ecommerce enforcement programs for qualifying members. Moreover, the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center is a good place to start seeking government help, where criminal activity is suspected.

Capture those brand pirates and take control of your business again!




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