Study Reveals Who is at Risk of Being Infringed upon
A recent report by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), a US-based non-profit working to improve marketplace trust, has provided a thorough insight into the online counterfeit goods trade and the growing need for IP protection.
According to the study, any product that can be sold online is at risk of being copied and ripped off. Counterfeiters may use original photos of authentic products on fake websites, or simply use photos taken from social media platforms of models or regular people wearing authentic products to deceive consumers. The products received are either cheap imitations, completely different products or in some cases nothing at all.
Besides the disappointment experienced by consumers, angry shoppers are also likely to blame the original brand owners for the faulty or poor quality product received, damaging the company’s reputation as well as its relationship with customers.
Dealing with counterfeiters online is time-consuming and arduous. It can be extremely difficult to have fraudulent websites shut down, especially if these are hosted in another country, and new ones appear on a daily basis. A large percentage of counterfeit products are also being marketed and sold through social media platforms where regulation is lacking and national borders ill-defined, making it all the more difficult to hold counterfeiters accountable for their actions.
Search engine algorithms can even be manipulated in order to have counterfeit products and websites appear higher up in results. IP protection professionals can assist in monitoring fraudulent websites and search engines to detect and remove counterfeiters immediately.