Successful brands don't just establish themselves on their own. Behind every successful globally recognized brand such as Louis Vuitton, Coach, Chanel, Coca-Cola, Pfizer, Cisco or HP is many years of product development, marketing, public relations and all the related expenses which go with building up a product and reputation. With all the efforts goes into building a brand, it is therefore hardly surprising that companies take all steps possible to protect their brand.
All good, innovative products will be copyrighted in order to protect the manufacturer against another firm ripping off the design, and elements of the design such as the logo or particular colors used on a product are trademarked. It would be illegal, for example, to set up a burger joint called McKenzie's with a red and yellow color scheme and a symbol of an M. This is just too like the existing chain and their lawyers would be well within their rights to start legal proceedings. Although this sort of copycat business is not often seen in North America or Europe, in other parts of the world it can be a different story, and brand protection staff struggle to deal effectively with businesses trying to steal their successful format.
One of the most visible aspects of enterprise brand protection is the constant battle against the counterfeiters. Any successful brand runs the risk of someone producing a replica product using their styling, design or colors, but the products most often counterfeited are designer clothing, bags, DVDs, electronics and watches. The quality of a "Rolex" watch bought from a market stall in the Far East for a few dollars is going to be nothing like the quality of the real thing, and the reason manufacturers work so hard to combat the counterfeiters is to protect their brand and keep their reputation for a quality product. The counterfeiting industry is booming and it's not just the consumer goods market that is affected; recent years have seen a dramatic increase in counterfeit prescription drugs, car parts, and technology such as cell phone batteries flooding the market.
The way we all shop has changed dramatically in recent decades, with a huge shift from shopping in local stores or via mail order to having access to goods from across the world by shopping online. Online shopping has brought many benefits including a wider range of choices and increased price competition, but it has also provided a route to market for many of the counterfeiters. Most large brands now have an online brand protection department within the company that constantly monitors the Internet for shops and auction sites selling faked items. From a consumer's point of view, internet shopping can be a minefield; how do you know that those Ugg boots being advertised as genuine are the real deal if you cannot see and feel the product before buying and only have a picture to go on? Counterfeiters are expert at copying all the brand images, logos and content online.
Counterfeiting in itself is a crime, and it is illegal to bring counterfeit articles into the United States. The same is true of most other countries, although some enforce the law more rigorously than others. A counterfeiting operation is not small-scale crime, and research has shown that the counterfeiting industry has links to large organized crime syndicates across the globe. The revenue used from selling fake goods is used to finance other operations such as drug smuggling or people trafficking. Reputable brands never want their names associated with these sorts of activities, and are doubling their brand protection efforts to ensure operations are shut down quickly wherever possible. The digital protection of brands and trademarks online requires advanced -technology considering there exists over 230+ million domains and 23+ billion pages online.
Bouju provides enterprise brand protection software as a service to rapidly discover, monitor, measure and proactively guard brands online. Please send a email to email@example.com with your company (brand) email address for initial free brand audit report.