Detecting and Stopping Counterfeit Internet Sales
Ordinary consumers are often unable to distinguish internet counterfeiters and their counterfeit products from legitimate products. These bad actors damage brand reputations and diverts revenue from legitimate brand owners. In fact, according to a recent study, nearly one in four consumers has unknowingly purchased a counterfeit product on the internet.
Vorys brings together technological, investigative and legal solutions to help brands defeat counterfeiters selling online. Cyber investigators make use of technology created specifically to identify these bad actors. Counterfeit sellers often fall within one or more of the categories below:
- They are selling products substantially below retail price;
- They have a large volume of product available;
- They have short domain histories;
- They have low quality websites; or
- They have been known to sell other counterfeits.
Companies affected by counterfeits can work with our attorneys who are skilled at pursuing online sellers to develop tailor-made programs to eradicate counterfeit sellers using various legal techniques. These techniques include sending cease and desist letters and obtaining injunctions that can result in the removal of or transfer of websites.
The goal is to remove and stop counterfeit sales and sellers, rather than engaging in something that resembles “Whac-A-Mole,” where you get some products taken down, only to see them pop up again online.
Beyond removing counterfeit products and websites, as well as potentially seizing websites and associated proceeds, counterfeit enforcement efforts should also be geared toward ensuring the unauthorized sellers completely cease their unlawful activity.
If a court finds counterfeit sales to be willful, damages can rise to as much as $2,000,000. However, it is important to note, companies must register their trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to receive maximum legal protections. The Vorys Online Seller Enforcement program and our attorneys can be invaluable assets in the battle against internet counterfeiters and unauthorized sellers.