What is Brand Protection?

Brand protection is the safeguarding of a company’s intellectual property (IP) against bad actors seeking to illicitly profit from its IP, including its trademarks, domain names, design marks, trade dress and patents, regardless of where they are located online.

What is digital brand abuse?

Digital brand abuse is a term used to encapsulate an array of illicit and malicious activities online, all of which are linked to the exploitation of a brand, trademark or IP in some form. Brand owners must police their brands for digital brand abuse to protect their reputation, revenues and customers’ online experience, trust and safety.

What are examples of digital brand abuse?

There is a broad spectrum of illicit activities linked to digital brand abuse.


The sale of fake goods made to look authentic

Gray Market/Parallel Import

Non-counterfeit product sold from an unauthorized seller


Registering or using a domain name with bad faith intent to profit from the goodwill of a trademark

Spoofed websites

Websites created fraudulently to appear to be produced by a different person or organization

Rogue mobile apps

Counterfeit apps made to duplicate those of trusted brands


Fraudulently acting as a trusted company or a brand to trick victims into disclosing sensitive information


Practice of distributing copyrighted content digitally without permission, such as music or software

Who Commits Digital Brand Abuse?

Digital brand abuse can be committed by both nefarious and non-nefarious groups, as well as individuals. Sometimes it occurs to disrupt or defame, but it primarily occurs for financial gain. The most egregious and most challenging accounts of brand abuse are committed by organized bad actors who seek to confuse, divert and monetize a well-known brand’s customers.

  • Organized bad actors 
  • One-off bad actors
  • Customers
  • Employees
  • Affiliates/partners 
  • Competitors 
  • Other

Where Does Digital Brand Abuse Occur?

Whether on a mobile device or desktop computer, digital brand abuse exists on popular digital channels customers frequent:

Domain names and websites


Social Media

Mobile Apps

Search Engines

How Does Brand Abuse Occur on Social Media?

Social media accounts are free and easy to set up, which makes them easy targets for bad actors to abuse your brand. Fake social media accounts mimic well-known brands or imply some association with a trusted brand. These fake accounts can cause consumer confusion and are used to redirect legitimate traffic to illegitimate sites. Some of these sites may be used for phishing, aimed at tricking consumers into sharing their login credentials and financial information. Others might be used to sell substandard goods or counterfeits, resulting in consumer harm and revenue loss.

How Does Brand Abuse Occur Through Mobile Apps?

Inauthentic or infringing apps also known as “spoof apps” are the fastest-growing type of digital fraud, with 29% of apps attributed to being fake. Fake mobile apps are created to serve fake ads and siphon off user personal and financial information. There’s even a subset of these apps that are created by fans to add a layer of digital interaction with your brands, like stickers and filters. While these infringing apps aren’t malicious, they divert traffic from your legitimate app and cause confusion to your customer base.

When Does Digital Brand Abuse Occur?

Digital brand abuse exists at multiple points during a customer’s digital brand journey. Whether customers are doing research, making a purchase, or promoting and advocating your brand online, brand abuse exists in the form of domain names, text, copy, images and more.

Appdetex Brand Protection - Singular Red

What is a Brand Abuse Network?

A brand abuse network is a connected set of illicit digital content (ad, text, post, listing, image, video, etc.) found on multiple digital channels (websites, social media, mobile apps, marketplaces, search engines, etc.), all linked by a common set of identifiers and attributes.

What is Brand Protection Technology?

Brand protection technology exists to help detect the many sources of fraud across the modern digital ecosystem and remove/mitigate that abuse. There are various ways brand protection technology detects and mitigates abuse, including through artificial intelligence and managed services. Here are a few examples:

Image recognition

Advanced machine learning capabilities detect digital images online (logo, product images, etc.) to accelerate the review, triage and prioritization of enforcement efforts

Test Buys

Undercover purchase and analysis of physical and digital goods helps definitively determine the authenticity of a good or service and is a cost-effective alternative to private investigations

Case Management

In-platform repository and workflows can be tailored to any specific case management requirements to reduce time, effort and headaches.

Managed Services

Experienced brand protection teams become immediate extensions to any legal and brand protection department.

Why is Brand Protection Important?

Bad actors are savvy digital marketers. They exploit digital platforms to find new ways to use your brand for their own gain. People need to feel assured that every interaction with your brand is 100% authentic. There are many critical benefits to using brand protection technology, including:

Preserving customer satisfaction and experience

Preventing brand and reputation decay

Averting customer safety issues

Reducing marketing and ad spend

Increasing sales and revenue

What Makes a Brand Resilient?

As fraud proliferates in today’s vast digital landscape, brands must practice extra diligence in protecting their intellectual property. Are you thorough enough? Learn the characteristics of the most resilient and protected brands. 

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Omnichannel Fraud: 3 Intellectual Property Threats on the Web

Take a deeper look at the ways in which scammers conspire to steal from organizations across the web and the tools you can use to safeguard yourself and your customers. 

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Defending Brands—New Realities, New Partnerships

As our digital world continues to evolve, emerging channels and technologies continuously present new opportunities for brands to engage with their customers. While this evolution enables businesses to grow, it also poses challenges. As technologies innovate, so do bad actors on the web who conspire to harm your brand through piracy, intellectual property infringement, and product counterfeits.

Learn how to protect your brand