Product and mark counterfeiting in the entertainment, media and sports industries have increased dramatically in recent years, and affect a variety of industries. The FBI estimates that U.S. businesses lose between $200 billion and $250 billion each year to counterfeiting. Counterfeiting, piracy and product diversion present significant challenges for brand owners, often on an international scope.
A company’s success increasingly depends on the ability to protect their IP assets and reputation. Counterfeit products – from handbags to electronics to personal care products – often represent an incalculable cost to a client’s reputation, and can result in permanent damage to a brand if not handled properly.
Dickinson Wright’s anti-counterfeiting team handles anti-counterfeiting actions across the globe. From demand letters and complaints to search and seizure actions, we work with law enforcement in various jurisdictions, customs authorities, prosecutors, investigators and local regulatory authorities to protect our clients’ brands.
Our areas of experience include:
Strategic Management and Protecting of Brands
We work with clients to ensure that brand management and global enforcement programs are in place before any marks are launched. Our proven and proactive anti-counterfeiting services and countermeasures solutions are designed to help clients prevent and eliminate counterfeiting.
Our attorneys offer proactive approaches to help prevent counterfeiting and, in the event it does occur, discover the problem quickly. The team counsels clients on best practices and strategic risk reduction measures for counterfeiting avoidance. This advice includes methods to secure products and packaging against counterfeiters and the development of programs to guard and monitor distribution channels.
As an example, we record client trademarks with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and with customs services in other jurisdictions, and assist those agencies when suspected counterfeits are detected.
With counterfeiting increasingly moving to the online environment, new challenges abound for IP owners. Dickinson Wright’s team is dedicated to online enforcement of intellectual property rights, and offers cost-effective counterfeit website takedown services. We can also address online counterfeit merchandise enforcement issues, and have a network of counsel worldwide.
We also can assist in creating and subsequently enforce minimum advertising pricing (MAP) policy programs to secure and maintain brand integrity and gain control of unauthorized third party resellers. This involves drafting a MAP policy, suspension schedule, and enforcement is achieved utilizing the valuable intellectual property of the company.
Investigations and Seizure of Counterfeit Merchandise
We coordinate investigations in matters relating to the manufacture, sale, and distribution of unauthorized products. Our team has organized investigations and raids that have resulted in the seizure of hundreds of thousands of counterfeit products.
We also develop the necessary evidence to support enforcement of our clients’ rights, and have a successful record of working with law enforcement agencies and investigators around the world.
Working with our network of foreign associates, we can help our clients intercept and restrict the flow of counterfeit goods, as well as pursue the manufacturers and stop counterfeiting at its source.
Facilitating United States and Foreign Customs Seizures
Our team knows that an effective anti-counterfeit program requires a solid working relationship with customs and law enforcement authorities. We work with law enforcement to protect our clients against counterfeiters and enforce brand owners’ IP rights, and have developed members of the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (NIPRCC). The NIPRCC coordinates the U.S. government’s enforcement of intellectual property laws.
Litigating Against Counterfeiters in United States Federal Courts
Effective counterfeit enforcement often includes litigation, and our team knows how to get the job done. We have successfully obtained restraining orders and injunctive relief, often within 24-48 hours when tradeshows are involved, and obtained significant multimillion dollar judgments for clients. We have helped brand owners recover substantial damages through litigation, and have facilitated the seizure and destruction of counterfeit products.
Our litigators are always prepared to go to trial, but we are also experienced in achieving successful and cost-effective outcomes without going to court. We are also skilled at advising clients on publicity and counterfeit warning advertisements.
Whether you are looking to implement a global brand protection program or to just pursue counterfeiters, our team can customize a program to meet your business objectives and fit your budget.