IP infringement winners and losers

Yellow Brand Protection Blog - Yellow corner flag on football pitch

Football fever has hit, with several games already lost, won and drawn. But in the ugly world of counterfeiting, which of the countries participating in the 2018 World Cup are the winners and losers when it comes to the number of intellectual property (IP) online infringements found on online marketplaces?

As an online brand protection specialist, we have analysed data from our intelligent in-house search platform, ZERO, to conclude that the clear winners in the counterfeit game, (i.e. the countries with little to no current IP infringements on native online marketplaces) are Iceland, Iran & Tunisia.

Whereas on the losing side, (i.e. the countries whose native online marketplace offer the highest number of infringing products for sale) are Brazil, England, France, Poland, and Spain. In fact, according to our data, out of the 32 countries taking part in the tournament a quarter of all found IP infringements are coming from Brazilian registered online marketplaces.

Clearly, counterfeiting is not limited to these competing countries, it is a global problem, and one that the World Cup trademark owners do not escape from as fraudsters try to capitalise on the hysteria.

FIFA is the world governing body of association football and owner of all rights in relation to the 2018 World Cup in Russia. A global licensing programme gives licensees exclusive rights to use or produce any goods with the official trademarks. However, perhaps unsurprisingly, every four years, thousands of IP infringing football related items appear for sale around the world.

Together with international customs authorities, FIFA has taken measures to prevent the sale, trade and production of counterfeit products, but despite their efforts, it has already been reported that nearly US$2 million worth of counterfeit football merchandise was seized in Hong Kong over a six-week period. Elsewhere, customs officials in China have also confiscated a total of over 130,000 items of football jerseys, shoes, bags and balls, that violate World Cup IP rights.

Whilst these figures will very unlikely represent the actual football tournament results, it does help reveal just how widespread the counterfeit problem actually is no matter where in the world or what is being sold.



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