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Product counterfeiting a big concern in the gift-giving season

News and Notes Focused on the 3 Public Faces of IP Law

  • Brand Image Protection - Trademark Law
  • Visual Image Protection - Copyright Law
  • Personal Image Protection - Right of Publicity Law

The Image Protection Law blog has been created in order to share stories and information on the legal aspects of: 1) the marketplace reputation of a company or product captured in its trademark, 2) published or publicly-displayed artwork, photography, and any created visual design, and 3) use of a person's photograph or likeness for product promotion or other commercial purposes.

The "IP3" share at least one thing in common: Image is everything. In these posts let's look at what that means in the realm of intellectual property in the news, but let's also be prepared to explore if there's something more beyond "everything." Don't forget, the intellectual in "intellectual property" doesn't mean smart or brainy, although by nature true creators often are. The word is used to refer to any creation, i.e., a "product of the mind." While this blog will be regularly updated, you are encouraged to share your thoughts on these posts.

The massive increase in retail sales - both from brick-and-mortar stores and from internet sources - that accompanies the holiday season can create the perfect storm within which counterfeiters can try to launch their masquerading products, hoping to go unnoticed in the flurry of purchases. We have previously posted about counterfeiting, in which we explained that counterfeiting is an illegal attempt to pass off a copied product in the marketplace as having been placed there by the legitimate owner of the associated trademark.

A new and interesting article in Above the Law discusses the need for trademark owners to be on high alert for counterfeiting and other kinds of trademark infringement during this season of explosive retail sales. The author cites the International Trademark Association for the projection that by 2022, the value of counterfeit trade globally could reach about $1.9 through $2.81 trillion

Counterfeit goods of inferior quality can have a substantial negative impact on the trademark owner's reputation, notes the article - and the legitimate mark owner may face warranty and product liability lawsuits based on sham products the owner did not place into the sales stream.

The growth of online product sales on numerous platforms makes it more difficult to police against counterfeiting, but staying on top of best practices for doing so is imperative to brand protection. An experienced intellectual property attorney who is aware of cutting-edge methodologies for internet policing can provide guidance to trademark owners.

Legal counsel can also represent a mark owner in devising a trademark enforcement strategy that includes cease-and-desist requests along with litigation when necessary. On the other side, any company or entrepreneur accused of infringement or counterfeiting should seek the advice of a lawyer immediately to build a defense and open negotiations to settle the matter, if appropriate.

 

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