Brand Protection


Intellectual Property Protection What is Intellectual Property? According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), intellectual property refers to creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce.Intellectual property is divided into two categories: Industrial property, which includes inventions (patents), trademarks (brand logos), industrial designs, and geographic indications of source; and Copyright, which includes literary and artistic works such as novels, poems and plays, films, musical works, artistic works such as drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures, and architectural designs.

Rights related to copyright include those of performing artists in their performances, producers of phonograms in their recordings, and those of broadcasters in their radio and television programs. Why is protecting intellectual property important? Piracy, counterfeiting and the theft of intellectual property assets pose a serious threat to all legitimate businesses globally. Businesses and consumers face legal, health and safety risks from the manufacture and sale of counterfeit goods.

Where do counterfeit goods come from and how much is counterfeit?

Counterfeit goods can enter the supply chain for various markets at all levels, often flowing across borders in the guise of legitimate trade. According to the U.S. government, Interpol, World Customs Organization and International Chamber of Commerce estimate roughly 7-8% of world trade every year is in counterfeit goods. That is the equivalent of as much as $512 billion in global lost sales.” What markets are most impacted by counterfeit products? Those sectors of the market most commonly affected by IP theft are manufacturing, consumer goods, technology, software and biotechnology, including pharmaceuticals, which represent legitimate safety concerns. The most frequently counterfeited automotive products include belts, tensioners, hose, couplers, oil filers, brakes, spark plugs and filters. Any recognizable brand is at risk – automotive, leisure, fashion, music, electronics. What are the hazards associated with buying counterfeit products? Failure of a counterfeit automotive component can present an unacceptable health and safety risk to society as well a potentially high repair costs for consumers.

Are there other impacts from counterfeit products?

In addition to the financial impacts, counterfeiting can also lead to dilution and destruction of brand names and damage to a brand’s goodwill. Once damaged or lost, goodwill is not easily regained. It can also lead to costly packaging and product redesign as pirates steal goodwill by infringing (copying) trademarks, trade dress (packaging) and copyrights (web-based literature). It can result in legal fees and investigations as well as expensive warranty claims.

Who can become a victim of counterfeiters?

Anyone can become a victim of counterfeiters including consumers, end users, DIY’ers; any service facility such as OE dealerships, franchise facilities, retail stores and independent repair facilities (small garages). What is ITF doing to improve the situation? ITF IP and Detection Division is doing many things to improve the situation including: Educating our associates that counterfeiting hurts everyone Educating businesses that counterfeiting affects the bottom line Encouraging and participating in international initiatives to coordinate laws and enforcement efforts Participating in local IP events to raise awareness and provide support to local governments dealing with the problem Aggressively enforcing IP rights by individual owners against infringers Cooperating with local governments during enforcement activities Maintaining continuous contact with local governments Cooperating with industry members during investigations Publicizing successes to market to infringers so they are aware that they are being pursued Continuously improving best practices and technologies