Many New Jersey companies have good reason to be concerned about trademark infringement, particularly with the challenging global environment of online sales and e-commerce. Infringement types can range from confusingly similar products sold by legitimate competitor brands to blatant counterfeits marketed for sale online with fake brand logos and imagery. One company reported that 85% of the brands it works with faced at least some problems with trademark infringement in 2019, an increase from the already high numbers of 2018 when 81% reported the same concerns. In 2017, 74% of the businesses the trademark research firm works with reported that their intellectual property had been violated.
Many of these trademark violations were linked to online sales. Consumers and companies have complained about the proliferation of counterfeit products on online marketplaces, and those numbers were reflected in the survey results. Almost 40% of the companies said that their trademarks had been infringed upon on various e-commerce sites in 2019, including large marketplaces like Amazon. While 44% said their business names had been copied, another 44% said that infringers set up web domain names to hijack their customers and divert them to another page. The businesses took the infringement seriously with 75% reporting that they had taken legal action, up to and including trademark litigation.
Fake social media profiles were another major concern with 38% of companies saying their trademarks were misappropriated for others’ social media activities. Companies expressed a range of worries about the widespread infringement. While 45% noted that their customers were confused about their products, 37% noted that their reputations could take a hit from poor-quality counterfeits.
For many businesses, intellectual property is key to their ongoing success, and infringement can be a major blow to revenue and reputation. A lawyer may help companies to protect their trademarks, copyrights and other creative output.