Counterfeiting is a critical problem for trademark and copyright owners (‘IP owners’) affecting all industries, from pharmaceuticals and medical devices to electrical and auto products, toys and fashion items. To effectively tackle the problem, IP owners must adopt coordinated international anti-counterfeiting strategies in several countries, including China. While the sale of counterfeits cannot be entirely stopped, preventative measures and enforcement strategies are available to obtain some protection against the onslaught of counterfeit goods. This article discusses anti-counterfeiting strategies available within the US.
Educating consumers – public awareness campaigns IP owners can start to prevent counterfeiting by involving their marketing and public relations units in the cause. One important step that IP owners can take is to inform consumers of the problems associated with counterfeit goods and to encourage them to report counterfeits. Counterfeiting is commonly associated with lower quality products, public health and safety concerns (especially in the territory of counterfeit pharmaceuticals and automotive parts), depletion of US jobs, and has links to terrorism and organised crime. Where appropriate, IP owners can use targeted advertising campaigns and training seminars to educate the public in general, and their customers in particular, as to the negative consequences of counterfeiting.
This article first appeared in the April 2013 issue of the Newsletter of the North American Regional Forum of the Legal Practice Division of the International Bar Association (Vol 4 No 1), and is reproduced by kind permission of the International Bar Association, London, UK. © International Bar Association.
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