Protecting one’s brand in this world of daily cyberattacks requires foresight and vigilance more than ever before. The internet and technology enables hackers and infringers with a wealth of personal data with fewer chances of getting found out. Whether it is by creating a number of accounts to sell fake goods on favorite eCommerce platforms or dealing in trade secrets and stolen intellectual property through the anonymity of the dark web, infringers have several techniques to maximize profits while minimizing manufacturing costs and the risk of getting caught. Below are a few trends worth noting in brand protection and intellectual property.
Combating Hackers on eCommerce Platforms, Social Media, and ISPs
In a recent act, a marketer sought to prohibit an online retailer from offering merchandise available based on a trademark search for a product they don’t carry. Multi Time Machine, Inc., asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review a 2-1 panel decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit a popular eCommerce marketplace failed to create a likelihood of customer confusion by offering competitions’ products when consumers entered search terms because of its Special Ops—branded military—style watches.
Consumers in this market who search for “MTM Special Ops” are introduced with a list of competing products, and in accordance with the Multi Time Machine’s request for certiorari, “At no time or place on [the marketplaces’s] display does it acknowledge that MTM’s watches (by the specific trademark or otherwise) are simply not available on [the marketplace’s] website.”
On the social networking front, a recent survey of more than 1,000 ads appearing on a popular social media platform discovered that although lots of the ads appeared to be genuine, some of the linked sites used the logos and trademarks of the brands’ owners to deceive customers into believing that they could purchase genuine goods on the sites. The earnings that result from these links harm the standing of the brand, may cause harm to your business through sales of the article, and pose a danger.
Unsuspecting new owners frequently find that regulatory activities and consequent consumer complaints are the result of customers buying fake versions of their brand’s merchandise. For these reasons, brand owners should monitor ads for counterfeit goods on social media and police against infringing domains through the proper channels.
Policing the Dark Web
The dark web is a group of sites that provide anonymous surfing by hiding the IP addresses of the servers running the sites. Dark websites’ majority utilize the anonymity web browser Tor — an acronym for the title of this original multilayered software, The Onion Router. Tor empowers users through different computers in its own network to track traffic that can’t be traced by the party on the other end.
Consumer data, counterfeit goods, and trade secrets are often offered on dark web markets. Many company executives and managers responsible for corporate safety or brand security lack operational knowledge of their network or policies for enforcing intellectual property rights against its denizens, making sensitive corporate data especially vulnerable.
Providers can combat these cyberthreats by expanding online monitoring attempts to include intelligence gathering and enforcement activities that cover dark web markets; utilizing digital watermarking, and other track-and-trace technology to better comprehend the way content or unauthorized products are dispersed; disrupting or disincentivizing the illegal marketplace for articles and data; and working with dark web-knowledgeable legal counsel and cyberinvestigators.
While the explosion in eCommerce and online marketplaces has turned into a boon for digital retailers seeking another path to reach customers as the effectiveness of direct response television declines, it has not been without a new set of problems that may keep marketers awake at night. Brand security today demands global reach and tenacity.