IP: Protecting your brands against online counterfeit sellers

Brand owners should use a multi-pronged strategy to combat knock-off goods

Although counterfeiting is often perceived as a victimless crime, it has significant economic and reputational costs for brand owners. In 2012, U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized counterfeit goods worth $1.26 billion and shut down 697 websites involved in trafficking counterfeit goods. Counterfeit goods are not merely knockoff designer purses purchased from a street-vendor, but also include pharmaceuticals, toys, cosmetics and automobile parts such as airbags and brake pads, many of which are sold online.

A knockoff designer purse or toy may look relatively harmless, but it may have been made with toxic dyes. Substandard automobile airbags, untested brake pads or drugs, and cosmetics containing unregulated chemicals may cause serious injuries to consumers and severely damage a brand owner’s reputation. This article offers some practice tips to help brand owners protect their intellectual property  rights and combat online counterfeiting through monitoring, enforcement and preventive measures.

3. Proactively enforce your brand

  • Send demand letters to online infringers regardless of whether the trademarks and/or copyrights are federally registered. 

 Brand owners should demand that the infringer discontinue use of trademarks and/or copyrighted work, provide an accounting of the profits and reveal the source of the counterfeit goods.

Contributing Author

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Camille M. Miller

Camille M. Miller is a Member of Cozen O'Connor and Chair of the firm's Intellectual Property Practice Group. Camille concentrates her practice in all aspects...

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Contributing Author

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Elizabeth Featherman

Elizabeth Featherman is an Associate in Cozen O'Connor's Intellectual Property Practice Group. Elizabeth represents clients in all areas of intellectual property with an emphasis on...

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Richard T. Ruzich

Richard T. Ruzich is a Registered Patent Attorney and Chair of the Hatch-Waxman & Biologics Litigation Practice Group at Cozen O’Connor. He formerly served as...

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