As part of an international team that works with brands and brand owners to help them protect their valuable IP and provide a safe online shopping experience for their customers, I see firsthand the growing mistrust between brands and consumers in the digital marketplace. To match the effort and sophistication of modern brand abusers, companies must go on the anticounterfeiting offensive to prevent brand and reputation decay, avert customer safety issues, and preserve customer experience. Recently, I sat down with Nicole Semjevski from the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) to host a discussion on how to protect your brand from counterfeit products and illicit online activity using their new IP Enforcement Portal (IPEP).
These are my top 5 takeaways from that conversation:
1. The EUIPO has developed and published a FREE portal focused on helping rights holders.
2. The portal enables enforcement agencies to identify counterfeit products quickly.
Rights holders can upload product details in such a way that it can link brands to groups of products or product lines. The right holder then can decide which IP enforcement authorities can view their product information on the portal. Enforcers use the same website and see a completely different view that allows them to search for information about rights, right owners, and even about registered rights in other countries. This anticounterfeiting information is crucial for enforcers to stop counterfeit goods that are on their way to other markets as ‘goods-in-transit’.
3. The portal allows the EUIPO to move away from paper applications to a more structured and secure electronic system.
Brand owners need to proactively file an electronic Customs Application for Action (AFA) if they want customs authorities to stay vigilant about possible infringements against their goods. An AFA has a validity of 1 year and needs to be updated every year. This, too, can be filed through the free IPEP portal.
4. The portal offers helpful alerts to improve the notification and communication of enforcement activities.
Apart from the AFAs, brands and brand owners can create alerts in the IPEP portal to inform both the Customs authorities and other internal market authorities like Police, etc. about the potential for infringement. Rights holders who have registered their products on the IPEP portal can also receive notifications from the enforcement authorities about suspicious infringement cases against their products. These notifications can include descriptions and even pictures of suspicious counterfeits.
5. The portal is internationally friendly.
All the AFAs that are created via the IPEP are also, by default, translated into 23 languages and made available for each country’s authority in their respective languages.
If you are interested in anticounterfeiting listen to the whole conversation I had with Nicole, please watch the webinar recording here.