Counterfeiting is a criminal activity that tarnishes brand image and produces inferior goods to the tune of over $700 billion worldwide annually. Profits made from the illegal sale of counterfeit goods are often used to support organized crime and fund terrorist activities.
Online collaboration efforts represent one line of defense against counterfeit goods. Websites and apps are being used as a collaboration tool among stakeholders to safeguard against counterfeiting.
uFaker is a website and corresponding app that’s designed to assist so-called brand hunters. Trademark owners get a “real-time system for sharing and tracking counterfeit activity among [their] team[‘s] of lawyers, investigators, licensees and law enforcement.”
The app was created by Jason Drangel, an intellectual property lawyer, with input from a collaboration of lawyers, investigators and trademark owners. It utilizes social media applications and cell phone cameras for its anti-counterfeiting efforts.
Brand owners provide brand hunters with information so they can learn how to identify whether a product is a counterfeit.
The app makes it fun to report counterfeiting by allowing users to earn rewards for identifying and reporting counterfeits.
Contact info@uFaker.com for a personal online demo.
STOPfakes represents efforts from consumers, government officials and brand owners. The site acts as a tool to educate people about counterfeiting and falsely labeled goods. It offers a platform to report suspicious goods, and helps businesses protect themselves from intellectual property theft.
Counterfeit goods can be reported online, by phone (1-8666-IPR-2060) or by contacting a field office of the FBI.
Black Market Billions
Black Market Billions is a crowdsourcing app for the iPhone. The app is based on the Black Market Billions book, which is a work of non-fiction, to help educate consumers on counterfeit items.
It allows users to take photos of potential counterfeits and upload them to a map that’s synced to their GPS locator, and alerts other consumers of potential counterfeits in the area.
The Counterfeit Report
The Counterfeit Report is a tool for raising awareness about counterfeit products and offers a reporting system designed to combat counterfeiting.
Consumers, experts, government agencies, and trademark owners can act as brand ambassadors by reporting counterfeit goods in the marketplace.
Prior to buying an item, consumers can search a database of product names that are linked to Counterfeit Product Alerts—an informative report on sources of counterfeits, how to spot a counterfeit and who to contact to report counterfeits.
For example, if I were in the market to buy a Coach purse, I could enter ‘Coach’ in the search box on the main page. I’m informed that Craigslist, a retail store and swap meets have been sources of counterfeit Coach purses.
I’m also able to access a list of authorized dealers, and learn that real Coach bag tags have a serial number, and even stitching. I’m given a counterfeit hotline number and email address to contact to report counterfeits.
Private investigators are often an essential part of team efforts to fight counterfeiting. Brand owners are able to hire qualified and professional private investigators to work in tandem with law enforcement to seize counterfeit items. When choosing a private investigator, make they have extensive experience with online investigation and covert surveillance capabilities.
Photo Source: FlickrPosted in: Counterfeiting, Intellectual Property, K&K Private Investigators, Kusic and Kusic Ltd.