The Many Faces of Online Infringement
While many consumers are reasonably familiar with the big issues within the counterfeit trade, such as imitations of luxury handbags and the like, few are aware of the many different types of online infringements that are becoming increasingly common. The rapid increase in online shopping, combined with technological developments within the industry, has unfortunately led to counterfeiting strategies and methods evolving at a similar pace.
Most people are already aware of so-called black market goods, often known as replicas, cheap imitations, or knock-offs, however there are more threats to look out for than these. Grey market goods, for example, are legitimate products but are being sold in a country other than the one intended by the brand owner, or by an unauthorised vendor. Grey market goods, also known as parallel imports, can be much more difficult to detect and are therefore hard to eradicate.
The white market is quite simply the legal market for all legitimate goods and has its own challenges to deal with. One of the biggest issues on the white market is enforcing minimum advertised pricing policies. Companies may see their brand reputation negatively affected when their products are sold at prices that misrepresent the company’s image or when prices vary and fluctuate heavily, something which is hard to control, especially for those operating globally.
Consumers and companies should be aware of these different types of online infringements in order to protect themselves and their brands in an effective and proactive way.
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