Many New Jersey businesses may be concerned about the effect of counterfeit products on their bottom line, especially as more consumers shop online with fewer opportunities to verify the provenance of the products they buy. The International Trademark Association estimates that counterfeit goods may be a $2.81 trillion business by 2022. In 2017 alone, U.S. companies lost more than $1 trillion due to counterfeiting, a $400 billion increase in counterfeit-related losses over the prior year. The winter holidays can be a particularly challenging time as people seek out name-brand products.
Counterfeit problems do more than just take away business from the legitimate trademark holders. In addition to lost sales, counterfeit products may lead to false returns and warranty claims based on fake products, particularly when the buyers believe them to be real. While many people buy dubious, cut-rate items from street vendors or online without believing them to be real, others pay full price for items marketed as legitimate. They may never know that they actually purchased a counterfeit. As a result, legitimate businesses’ reputation for quality can take a hit as people use inferior, fake items and believe their problems to be caused by the original manufacturer.
There are several ways that businesses can adapt their trademark protection strategy to respond to counterfeiters as well as traditional trademark infringement. Businesses should make sure that their registrations are up to date and accurate so that they can take action when necessary. In addition, they can develop a trademark enforcement strategy for many diverse digital platforms, social media sites and sales channels.
For many businesses, the integrity of their brand and strength of their intellectual property is critical to maintaining and developing their profitability. An intellectual property attorney may help them to protect their copyrights and trademarks and pursue litigation in case of infringement.