As a brand owner, you put a lot of time and effort into developing your products and building your brand. You want your customers to trust your brand and associate it with quality and authenticity. Unfortunately, counterfeiters can undermine all of your hard work by producing cheap knockoffs of your products. This not only damages your brand reputation but also eats into your profits. And the money the counterfeiters make from fooling you will be directly passed onto organised crime and illicit activities.
Many brands choose to fight counterfeiters in court, but this can be a long, expensive process with little to no hope of getting back what they actually lost.
Let me start with an example of LVMH, a leading luxury brand, which employs more than 60 people in the legal team and spent more than $17 million yearly to fight counterfeiters in court. Being the most counterfeited luxury product in the world, it is justifiable for LVMH to be spending such a humongous amount on legal battles. But it is not the case for every business out there.
And it is exactly why your brand should focus on preventing counterfeits from entering the market in the first place. You may think that is an unnecessary expense until the threat hits you in the face. Even the leading brands have started to implement preventive measures to mitigate the losses rather than spending much on legal expenses.
That’s why we'll be giving you a heads-up on why brands should prioritize counterfeit prevention over legal battles and provide some tips on how to do so effectively.
The high cost of legal battles
Filing a lawsuit against counterfeiters is an option that many brands choose, but it can be a long and costly process. Plus, the success rate of such lawsuits is low. The legal process can also be frustrating and time-consuming, taking months or even years to resolve. Meanwhile, the counterfeiters continue to produce and sell their fake products, causing further damage to your brand reputation and revenue.
Even if you win a legal battle, it's often difficult to collect damages from counterfeiters, many of whom operate outside of the jurisdiction of your country's courts. Amazon spends more than $700 million yearly on fighting the counterfeit battle just to shut down the business that sells fakes on their platforms. The probability of getting payback for the damages they caused is very low. This means that you may spend a lot of money on legal fees without ever seeing a return on your investment.
Keep in mind that, large MNCs will have a dedicated legal team to take up the action on their behalf. But small and medium-scale companies will find it hard to take up the legal battle to their hands and the amount to spend is not affordable. In such cases, the brands may have to abandon their hopes of getting any retribution or putting a stop to the counterfeit threat.
The Benefits of Counterfeit Prevention
Preventing counterfeits from entering the market in the first place can save your brand time, money and headaches. By focusing on counterfeit prevention, you can stop counterfeiters before they even have a chance to sell their fake products.
Counterfeit prevention also sends a message to your customers that you take the quality and authenticity of your products seriously. By investing in anti-counterfeiting measures, you're showing your customers that you care about their safety and satisfaction.
Make a stand in the competition. Customers will start to trust your products as your brand can deter fakes away from them. This gives you a headstart in the competition where the customers won't blindly trust other brands as much as they do you.
It can actually help you increase your revenue. When customers know that they're buying authentic products, they're more likely to pay a premium for them. This means that by investing in anti-counterfeiting measures, you may be able to charge higher prices for your products and increase your profit margins.
Tips for effective counterfeit prevention
Legal actions are necessary for a brand to stop its counterfeit threat. To protect your Intellectual Property Rights, to make your stand clear to the public and to create transparency in the process, it is advisable to go follow legal procedures in fighting counterfeits.
But don't always use them as the only way to fight counterfeits. In order to take the action to the court you need to first identify and weed out all your fakes. And in order to do that you need to adopt various brand protection practices that are available today. Some of them are:
1. Educate your customers
One of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent counterfeits is to educate your customers on how to spot them. Create educational materials such as blog posts, videos or infographics that explain the key features of your authentic products. Encourage your customers to look for these features when purchasing your products and to report any suspicious products to you.
2. Use unique identifiers
Unique identifiers such as proprietary labels, serial numbers or QR codes can help you track and trace your products and identify counterfeit products. These identifiers can be difficult for counterfeiters to replicate and can provide you with valuable information about your supply chain.
3. Implement Anti-counterfeit solutions.
The finest solution for your brand's counterfeit problem is to implement anti-counterfeit measures. It is best to collaborate with an anti-counterfeit company that could suit your business based on your product, scale and budget.
Acviss has been at the forefront of the fight against counterfeits. By employing cutting edge such as AI, ML, Computer Vision and Blockchain, Acviss has been able to protect more than 2 billion products across industries around the globe.
4. Monitor online marketplaces
Online marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay or Alibaba can be hotspots for counterfeit products. Regularly monitor these marketplaces for suspicious listings and report any counterfeits to the platform's administrators. You can also work with online brand protection services that can help you identify and remove counterfeit listings.
5. Take legal action as a last resort
While legal action should not be your first line of defence against counterfeits, it may be necessary in some cases. However, before taking legal action, consider other options such as sending cease and desist letters or filing complaints with customs officials. Legal action should be a last resort, as it can be costly and time-consuming.
Following the legal procedures is an excellent way to put an end to the counterfeits. Yet that’s not the only way. It's always better to invest in preventive measures than searching for a cure.
The most effective way to solve your counterfeit threat is to be proactive and weed out the counterfeiters. Always invest in a proper brand protection measure that suits your requirements. It can help you keep track of your brand's intellectual property, create a public image and stand out in the market as a socially responsible and trustworthy business.