How to win the war on counterfeit goods

How to win the war on counterfeit goods

Are rights holders starting to win the fight against counterfeiting? Ben Mark, legal director at RPC, considers the latest developments in the area of counterfeiting and how businesses can take effective action.

What's been happening in the world of counterfeiting in the past five years?

The internet has become an increasingly important channel of trade for those dealing in counterfeit goods—it offers anonymity, a wider target audience and a greater opportunity to mislead consumers into believing that they are buying the genuine article.

The past five years have seen important developments in relation to IP infringement online, specifically in relation to counterfeit goods.

In 2014, the High Court granted an injunction against internet service providers (ISPs) requiring them to block access to websites in which counterfeit goods were sold or advertised (Cartier International AG and others v British Sky Broadcasting Ltd and others (No 3), Note [2014] EWHC 3915 (Ch), [2015] IP & T 320 known as the Richemont case). These orders are well established in copyright cases (involving the piracy of films, TV shows and video games), and it will no doubt be a quick and effective way for brand owners to protect their trade marks and prevent ‘look alike’ or fake products from being advertised and sold online.

In addition, European legislation has been introduced in recent years to enhance the powers of customs authorities to detain counterfeit or pirated goods that are on their way into the EU. Customs authorities must now arrange the destruction of small consignments of the counterfeit goods as long as the importer has not objected to the destruction within ten days of detention. Also, there is now no requirement to commence infringement proceedings before destruction.

Despite the changes, there are still large challenges to overcome. Some reports suggest that the value of counterfeit goods in the global market is around half a trillion dollars.

To what extent can due diligence assist UK businesses in the battle against counterfeit goods?

Due diligence in the context of counterfeit goods effectively requires companies to become more aware of what causes counterfeiting, and to monitor their brand portfolios and product production lines. It acts as a key tool in responsible supply chain management (RSCM). To this extent, due diligence is a necessity in assisting UK businesses in t

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