Counterfeiting is a process whereby products are made or distributed under some other company’s name and without permission by that company. Counterfeit goods involve a wide range of industries which may include: clothing, medication, car parts, and electronics.
Some other products vulnerable to counterfeiting are jewelry, handbags, wallets, computers, shoes, and personal care products. Counterfeiting happens to be a global problem and has been around for years. Unfortunately, use of modern day technology has worsened the already bad situation.
Nevertheless, all hope is not lost as there are a few steps that U.S companies can take to protect themselves from losing much more money to overseas counterfeiting.
First, you have to Register Your Trademarks. Trademarks registration is a very important step in protecting your brands. Federal registration will allow you to enforce your trademarks rights anywhere in the United States. Also make sure you register your trademarks in all the countries in which you do business. Foreign registration provides you additional rights and will go a long way preventing the exportation of counterfeit goods that have your trademarks.
The next important step is to use technology in protecting your goods from being counterfeited. Technology can be expertly applied within the product itself. For instance, in apparels, you may add a seemingly invisible thread that creates a brand-specific pattern that is visible only under certain lighting.
The next major step, which has often times been overlooked, is to register your trademarks with customs agencies in the United States and other countries in which you do business. The U.S. Department of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) provide an Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Enforcement program that would help stop the flow of counterfeit goods into the United States.
Educating your consumers is another important step to take. In order to prevent your consumers from buying counterfeit goods, you will need to make available to them the information necessary to make enlightened purchases. Send them information through your company websites and also partner with other relevant websites to help identify places that sell counterfeit goods and to provide a list of authorized dealers. Inform your consumers how to identify and report counterfeit goods to you or other partners.
Counterfeit goods can cost any company both money and reputation. Taking a few simple steps to protect your brand and also your consumers is worth every effort that will be required to do so. While it might be practically impossible to completely eradicate counterfeiting globally, however, with adequate precautionary measures such as the steps outlined above, U.S. companies can empower themselves to prevent overseas counterfeiting from going overboard.
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