Preparing for the future: an introduction

With counterfeiting activity showing no signs of slowing, brand owners and those tasked with protecting their most valuable assets have their work cut out for them. As technologies advance, fraudsters are continuing to find new and increasingly sophisticated ways to target different consumer groups while avoiding detection. But brand protection systems are also improving and although anti-counterfeiting can often feel like a game of cat and mouse, new initiatives are helping brand owners to strategise their next moves.

When it comes to enforcement action on the ground, Maurice Emiola Adefalou from the World Customs Organisation (WCO) discusses the various steps that brand owners can take to improve collaboration with the authorities policing fake goods on the front line.

Moving to the virtual, we take a closer look at the latest US legislation to hold online marketplaces to account for illicit trade on their platforms. While e-commerce sites remain the biggest source of fakes online, the growing popularity of the metaverse has also raised important questions about policing infringement in evolving environments. Taylor Wessing’s Christian Tenkhoff, Tamara Herzog and Sylvia Burgess-Tate outline the steps that brand owners can take to protect themselves and their consumers in the virtual Wild West.

But protecting brands in the future is as much about changing consumer behaviour as it is chasing the bad guys. Every organisation with a vested interest in intellectual property has a responsibility to help raise awareness of the dangers of counterfeiting. EUIPO director Christian Archambeau talks frankly about the office’s efforts to develop innovative new tools, share information and educate younger generations to help turn the tide on counterfeiting. The INTA Unreal Campaign is also on a mission to spread the word and raise awareness of the importance of trademarks and the dangers of purchasing counterfeits by hosting an array of activities for those in the 14 to 23 age bracket. Christina Mitropoulos, director of external relations – anti-counterfeiting, tells us more about the campaign. Finally, we hear from one of the biggest brands in the world about its efforts to change attitudes in China. Robin Smith, vice president and general counsel for the LEGO Group, reveals how the toy giant is teaching respect for intellectual property among the “builders of tomorrow”, its target audience – children.

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