Tag Archives: Intellectual Property

shutterstock_63380170_jpg for the blog

Intellectual Property In The Digital Economy

shutterstock_63380170_jpg for the blogAs an IP lawyer, I am well aware of how little intellectual property is understood in entrepreneurship circles. Even MBA courses barely address the topic. Yet the digital economy has many implications on the relevance of Intellectual Property (IP) for business.

I did some quick research a while back and found that out of twenty top start-up business books released between 2006 and 2013 only eight even mentioned IP. It was a similar story when I looked at MBA courses. The one run at London Business School is ranked number four in the world according to the Financial Times. Yet it does not mention IP in its core modules.

In the UK alone there are more than half a million new companies registered every year. Yet many of these start-ups are completely unaware of what IP even means, some of which probably go under or achieve less success as a result.

Society hasn’t caught up with the dramatically changed role of IP law in the digital age.

A simple search on the web will instantly reveal whether a name or image you are using belongs to someone else. While in the industrial age you might have got away with infringing on other people’s IP because nobody was likely to find out about you, now that everything is out in the open, it is no longer possible to ignore copyright and trade mark issues, even if you are a small start-up.

However, it is not just because you could be infringing on somebody else’s rights that you need to take account of IP. In the overcrowded world of business, it is important to stand out with distinctive names, and to understand how to position yourself for commercial success.

You want to be able to scale your business through licensing or other commercialisation activities. These all depend on having secure IP rights, and understanding IP is essential to knowing how to protect your business against inevitable copying by competitors if you are successful.

So, avoiding infringing on others’ rights, and using IP rights to protect your unique business proposition are crucially relevant to any ambitious business both before it starts outs, and on an ongoing basis as the business progresses.

Regarding the IP help, it’s not enough to simply register rights. You also need appropriate agreements and advice so you are able to successfully commission the technology on which your business relies, and manage your risks. That involves focusing on the relationships you have in place with outsourcers, clients, partners and more.

For physical products, the internet is an important distribution channel, so SMEs need help to identify and protect their IP, and to understand the online space.

At Azrights we have developed solutions to help early stage businesses as well as more established ones to understand their IP needs.

It is important to me to raise awareness of IP so that the many businesses out there that have yet to receive help with their intellectual property can do so.



IP WORKSHOPS - ESSENTIAL IP LAW FOR CREATIVES

IP Workshops – Essential IP Law For Creatives

IP WORKSHOPS - ESSENTIAL IP LAW FOR CREATIVESI have been hosting focused intellectual property workshops for creative agencies for a few months now. Attendees are incredibly engaged, and invariably find aspects of the workshop a real eye opener.

Intellectual property is intrinsically bound up with the work creative agencies do. Therefore, a good knowledge of Intellectual property law helps in running a creative business, as well as reducing the risk of legal complications.

For example, better to avoid an infringement claim by doing proper due diligence checks before creating a logo than waiting to find out there is a problem once the logo is already created.

Liability for IP issues

While many agencies aim to limit their liability for IP related issues by putting the onus on the client to obtain legal advice themselves, it is difficult to see how agencies could successfully absolve themselves of liability in situations where they create a new logo, or even a new name.

One of the most memorable cases involved a dispute over the Dr Martens Airware logo . Due to a lack of IP knowledge the agency was embroiled in litigation along with the client, and suffered significant time, effort and expense in the ensuing court battle. This could have been so easily avoided with the right documentation in place.

IP law essential

The role of IP law is therefore crucial in avoiding pitfalls, and positioning clients of agencies for maximum success. IP fits hand-in-glove with the creative process.

The workshops highlights the pitfalls. Then by simply offering IP services, or referring matters to an IP specialist at the appropriate time in the creative cycle, agencies are able to give their clients real help while absolving themselves of responsibility.

Contrary to popular belief the right time to refer clients is not after the creative exercise is concluded. The appropriate due diligence checks should be carried out at an early stage, because if what you intend to create or use infringes on a third party’s rights, the client has nothing worth protecting. All the effort taken in creating the identity is wasted.

The workshops help agencies to find alternatives to simply asking their client to consult their own lawyers. Many clients will not have lawyers or may never consult any lawyers because they do not appreciate the significance of doing so. The upshot is that they are at risk of using an identity that may cause problems for them down the line. That will impact their revenues, and could expose them to litigation. And it’s doubtful that a clause excluding liability in the agency’s terms would be legally effective anyway.

The next workshop is on 14 July from 3-5pm. It’s a small session for a maximum of 8 people to attend.

This session costs £40+VAT per person (or £25+VAT for early birds) and includes refreshments, as well as a copy of my book Intellectual Property Revolution.

To book go to EVENTBRITE NOW.

bridge 3

Relief for IP lawyers at this year’s State Opening of Parliament

bridge 3This year’s State Opening of Parliament has provided IP lawyers with some relief. Amidst prison reforms and other new legislative measures, Intellectual Property was on the agenda as the Queen introduced the Intellectual Property (Unjustified Threats) Bill on 18th May 2016.

Following a review of the controversial law on groundless threats of legal action in cases that involve patents, trade marks and designs, the government has begun plans to agree proposals that will ensure lawyers are exempt from liability when making threats on behalf of their clients.

IP lawyers will welcome news that recommendations powered through by Law Society’s Intellectual Property Law Committee are to be adopted. The Bill aims to lower the current hurdles that businesses encounter when caught in IP disputes.

The current provisions allow the recipient of an infringement letter to claim against the rights holder, as well as their legal advisor in some circumstances. This can create difficulties for businesses seeking to enforce their rights and has a reputation amongst practitioners as being unworkable and unjust.

The Intellectual Property (Unjustified Threats) Bill will provide some direction when distinguishing between the levels of a supply chain. The Bill will ensure that rights holders focus their assertions on the source of the suspected infringement and away from IP lawyers.

A draft Bill was published last October, in response to a long and widely-debated campaign by the Law Society’s Intellectual Property Law committee. The draft Bill was considered as ‘suitable and uncontroversial’ and is eagerly awaited by Intellectual Property practitioners.

The Bill is set to become law in the coming year and should make it easier for businesses to settle disputes outside of the courtroom. The proof shall be in the pudding.

Read more about how Intellectual Property Law could affect your business, or contact a member of our team on +44 0 20 7700 1414.

Branding is IP

Branding – Why IP Is Intrinsic To The Work

Branding involves creBranding is IPating Intellectual Property (IP). Intangible assets produced during branding should be well chosen to ensure elements like names and logos are available to use and do not infringe on somebody else’s rights. A solid understanding of IP law can help ensure that the choices are also capable of creating potentially valuable intellectual property that is capable of protecting a company’s competitive market position.

Agencies need a way to incorporate IP considerations into their work. The practice of leaving IP considerations for clients themselves to deal with through their own lawyers’ due diligence on names leaves a lot to be desired.

Many clients lack an appreciation of the risks and opportunities that IP presents. The widespread belief that the legal aspects of branding can be passed on to clients therefore leaves them exposed. Many clients do not have access to lawyers with the appropriate skills to do searches during naming projects, or to give advice on copyright or designs.

Few have access to lawyers with the appropriate skills

Branding agencies are much better placed to provide the necessary legal checks. Any agency that creates intellectual property for clients play an important role in the client’s ultimate value as a business. So, they need to know about

  • Trademarks
  • Copyright
  • Designs

These IP laws are relevant to an agency’s own business, and also determine whether suitable IP is created for clients. For example, a good name is one that does not infringe on anyone else’s rights. Also, it must be the right type of name so it may be uniquely owned. Also, it is vital that steps are taken to protect the name before design work begins.

That is how you ensure the identities or other intangibles created, generate wealth and value for clients if their ventures succeed.

The importance of names

Names are potentially one of the most important IP assets a business uses. Key points are:

  1. Names should not infringe on the rights of others. So, legal due diligence before adopting a name is crucial. If someone else is using the same name it may be appropriate to abandon that name and find another.
  2. The adopted name must be capable of functioning as a trademark. Not all names are capable of being owned.
  3. The name should be ‘clear’ to use before trademarking. Trademarks are cancellable so doing due diligence is essential before registering a trademark.

Unfortunately, there is little real understanding of IP among SMEs, so agencies have an important role to play in educating their clients to help them to succeed with IP.

Inadequate training

However, designers own training rarely equips them with the knowledge to advise SMEs on IP issues. Few design courses cover intellectual property law, except in a cursory way. So designers tend to have to muddle through and learn about IP from hard experience.

If a design professional starts their working life in a large agency they are unlikely to be involved in every aspect of a project. So they are generally unaware of what goes on behind the scenes to clear names, and search logos. By the time they set up on their own, they have little insight into IP laws. A steep learning curve often lies ahead of them. The unlucky ones make serious IP mistakes along the road to wisdom.

Need for suitable IP help

So branding agencies need to find suitable IP help to better manage the complexity of IP laws given the central relevance of IP to the work of agencies.

The vast majority of branding agencies do their own checks during naming projects. However, they lack access to quality advice to interpret the results of their searches. Lack of guidance to interpret the results of searches can lead to perfectly suitable names being dropped.

It is not just when you’re finding a new name for a client that you need to do checks though. It is also important to verify whether a name that clients themselves have selected is suitable. In my book Intellectual Property Revolution which is a best seller on Amazon there are numerous case study examples of what happens when a business is stopped from using its name due to trademark infringement

Risk of leaving due diligence to clients’ own lawyers

The risk of leaving the legal checks to clients’ own lawyers – something many of them will not do – is that the name undergoes no legal clearance at all, and the client is left using a name which might cause problems for them several years down the line.

Alternatively, if the client does engage its own lawyers to do legal checks then the client might be disappointed if the name does not hold up to legal scrutiny. It also puts the agency in a difficult position as to where to draw the boundary unless it has clarified in advance what legal checks the name must withstand.

The fact is there are many different types of searches it is possible to do on names.

Names are just one type of IP issue that branding agencies need to know about.

We have solutions for agencies that want to address the legal issues in novel ways without incurring any overhead costs – something agencies generally associate with legal help.

We’d love to let you know about our innovative way of helping you with the legal aspects of your work, so please contact us or submit an enquiry referencing this blog.

FTC ruling on blog paid reviews

Intellectual Property Value – Do You Need Specialist Skills to Value IP?

What Is Your IP Worth?As intellectual property (IP) becomes more recognised as an asset class, interest in it is increasing – so much so that apparently according to the IPKAT Hong Kong property surveyors have been trying to break into assessing the intellectual property value in a business.

They recently called upon overseas bodies (for example, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors to promote the virtues of having surveyors perform IP valuations.

As the IPKAT says, the question is whether

  1. IP valuation is a sub-category of business valuations or a self-contained professional endeavor; and
  2. (ii) in either case, to what extent must an IP valuation professional understand the legal context of IP rights?

The starting point is to consider what we mean by IP

What is IP?

The term IP is generally associated with registrable rights like trademarks, patents and designs.  However, SMEs also have many non registrable IP issues to consider, such as copyright, know how, trade secrets, database rights, organisational knowledge and more.

Unless an SME takes advice to identify, manage, and protect its IP assets it could be seriously exposed because intangibles are a poorly understood asset class.

There is no one size fits all when it comes to determining a business’s risks and opportunities. Even  two businesses in the same industry, with similar business model, may have different issues to address depending on how they develop their businesses and what contracts and other arrangements they have in place, For one business copyright may be the critical asset, while for another it may be the database or a patent.

They will not necessarily be equally desirable to an investor as their value on exit would be impacted by a number of factors unique to each business.

Why have an IP valuation?

One issue a valuation will consider is whether there is key IP underpinning a company’s competitive advantage. If so, another question is whether that competitive advantage is adequately protected.

Banks and investors may accept IP assets as valuable security to finance an SME’s growth if the business can demonstrate that those IP assets underpin revenues and forecasts, and impact cash flow.

How the strength of the IP asset is critical

A fictional example may help convey how IP works.

Say a company has developed an innovative solution that becomes well known in its industry. That competitors will copy a good idea is inevitable. So, if a company’s asset isn’t protected with a patent or other barrier to entry, it is more vulnerable to copy cats.

However, where there are no patents to protect the product, it is a mistake to assume there is little you can do to prevent a competitor stealing market share. You may not be able to stop them creating similar products but you may be able to protect your competitive position and create barriers to entry through the name you choose for the product.

The name is a potential barrier to entry because it can stop competitors using similar ones to identify their offerings – but only if it is a name that the business can uniquely use.

If the business chooses a generic name (that is, one that describes what the product does, rather than an actual name), the name will not be capable of protecting the company’s asset. This is so even if the company registers that name as a trademark combined with a logo. Such a registration would effectively only protect the logo where the name is generic.

So the upshot is that the business has a product that gives it a competitive advantage. It has a valuable asset, but not as valuable as it would be if the name was capable of stopping competitors stealing market share when providing ‘me too’ solutions.

That not all names are equally effective at containing IP value is not generally well understood

Shifting value of IP

IP value is rarely static. Intellectual property rights can change in value over time for a variety of reasons. For example, when you first patent something, it’s possible you have a unique solution to a problem so that your patent provides a strong competitive advantage. But then as other solutions to the problem emerge, the value of your patent may be reduced. On the other hand, if you have successfully marketed your product, despite your patent becoming less critical to your competitive advantage, your trademark may have gained value as your name recognition has increased.

So, failing to give a product a distinctive name that is capable of functioning as a trademark, or not checking whether other people’s rights might prevent use of the chosen name long term impacts the value that is generated, and that would inevitably depress the value of your IP.

IP value is impacted by the choices you make

The above example is designed to illustrate how the IP in question, or the choices you make impact IP value. You need to be ready to make changes if needs be. However, names are not the sum total of IP. There are so many other issues that impact IP value.

There are a number of IP actions required in order to build value and wealth. Implementing effective contracts is a hugely important, but misunderstood aspect of IP protection.

Because it is never possible to foresee what problems and scenarios might arise for a business in the future, it is prudent to secure its IP rights to the fullest extent, so the business has adequate protection to protects its position in the market.

Therefore, identifying IP rights, and protecting and managing them, is essential for any ambitious business.

Conclusion

Clearly IP valuation is not an area in which surveyors would have appropriate transferable skills.

IP and business are closely intertwined. In practice, you need to take both into account. That is why it requires the combined skills of business and IP experts to get the most effective IP valuation and strategic advice.

In a future post, I will explore the different methods for valuing IP.

IP Revolution Book Launch 1

Intellectual Property Revolution – Book Launch – Video Highlights

IP Revolution Book Launch 1

The Intellectual Property Revolution, my second book, was launched with great success on 13 October 2015 at the Institute of Directors in London.

For those of you who were unable to attend the event the next best thing is to watch the videos of the night.

Daniel Priestley of Entrevo, who runs a global entrepreneurship accelerator programme known as Key Person of Influence (that I myself have attended) gave the introductions for the night.

He also took us through the ages pointing out that at one time it was ownership of land that enabled people to build fortunes, these people built themselves a reputation and became influential. Then after this agricultural age came the industrial revolution where people built their fortunes by  owning the means of production. In the digital economy it is intellectual property that is the means to building fortunes. He said millennials would rather spend all their time and money to build start-ups  than purchasing houses or land.

 

Next up was Will Critchlow of Distilled, CEO of a digital marketing agency based in London with offices in the USA. He reinforced the importance of using the right name and protecting intellectual property rights very early on, an issue he himself had encountered at the early stages of his business ventures while at school. Intellectual Property, in particular securing a trade mark helps provide businesses big or small with strong foundations to securely expand and build a reputation they establish. This will strengthen branding strategies becoming real investments rather than failing later on.

 

 

Then finally, I spoke about the importance of taking early IP advice in order to position yourself for maximum value if you succeed, and reduce the risk of disaster. When overlooked, IP can be damaging to the core features of any business. For example, a poor choice of name can be a real set back. This is something I discuss in more detail in my blog Intellectual Property Value – Do You Need Specialist Skills to Value IP?

IP is so important to any business, as the internet now dominates our daily lives, it is the ownership of these intangibles which is so necessary to protect. At Azrights, we offer a fixed price service that provides early stage businesses with comprehensive advice concerning Intellectual Property rights and strategic building of them.

 

There was a chance for guests to mingle over canapes and here are some vox pox and highlights of the event. The vox pox discussions give some insight into why attendees believe IP is so important in today’s society.

While the highlights below will give you a general flavour of the eventful evening.

Since the launch, I have revised the conclusion of the book, as this was a chapter I struggled to write last year. At the time, I wanted to finish the book so I used something. However, having had time to  reflect over the festive period, I have changed the conclusion, and am now very happy that the book will be an easy, insightful read for businesses interested in IP.

The new conclusion fits much better with the book as a whole being a kind of synopsis of the book and summarises the transformative effects of Intellectual Property rights. If you don’t have time to read the whole book, you’d now get a strong indication of what the book is all about by reading just the conclusion and perhaps revisiting the book when time allows.

IP-book-211x300

Intellectual Property Revolution Book Launch Highlights

IP-bookWe celebrated the launch of my second book, the Intellectual Property Revolution at the Institute of Directors on 13 October. Below is the video highlighting the event.

This was 3 years after my first book, Legally Branded, was launched. Two excellent speakers – Daniel Priestley and Will Critchlow – supported me, and the guests included many clients. Those attending ranged from entrepreneurs and business owners to branding agencies and start-ups.

The book became a bestseller in the Intellectual Property category on Amazon even before the launch, and has remained in the top 20 Kindle charts ever since. It also occasionally hits the number one spot for paperbacks too, and my other book, Legally Branded, is now also enjoying spectacular success on Amazon too.

Take a look at the video highlights of the launch, where some Azrights clients explain why IP is important to them.

 

Daniel Priestley, co-founder and CEO of Entrevo said “I genuinely believe that we are going through times that are revolutionary. We are reorganising the way in which the world works. Intellectual property is the new home ownership. Millennials have said that they’d prefer a start-up to a home. A lot of people who, had they been born in another time, would have been buying houses are now throwing their time and energy into creating start-ups and intellectual property. So it stands to reason that they want to know how to identify, value and protect their IP.”

While Will Critchlow, co-founder and CEO of Distilled, an online marketing agency, emphasised the importance of getting IP advice at the outset. As he put it, “if they end up having to rebrand because they infringe on another business’ IP, they can lose all of the hard work that they’ve built up.”

I have a sneaking suspicion that a lot of the reason for the success my books are enjoying on Amazon is down to this fantastic video I had produced before the launch of the book. Take a look and let me know what you think of it in the comment box below.

Protection Of Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property Infringement – How To Stop Alibaba From Selling Your (Fake) Products

Protection of Intellectual PropertyIntellectual property (IP) infringement is damaging for any business, and can be a particular problem for those that sell products online through platforms like Alibaba.

Chances are that if you have a business and your business has a website, you count as one of thousands of growing digital companies that export their IP to the world. This also exposes you to risks that you are probably unaware of. IP and copyright in particular, are complex areas of law. Alas, copyright infringement and counterfeits take a stronghold where others seek to exploit your commercial endeavours at your expense. One prime suspect is China, where e-commerce piracy is still very prevalent.

It only takes a moment to understand why it is important to police your brand against intellectual property infringement when you analyse the number of sales made on Chinese e-commerce platforms, such as Alibaba. According to an article on fortune.com, last year, Alibaba represented 86% of China’s online mobile shopping, with 367 million active users, which, on the average, each active buyer purchases 58 packages a year. It has over 10 million active sellers, which dwarves Amazon’s 2 million. In short, it is a marketplace like no other.

It is unfortunate and nonetheless very common, that brands suffer at the behest of counterfeit sellers in this megalith-type online marketplace where copying and counterfeit trading is rife.

How To Put An End To It

Despite the growing complaints against Alibaba, counterfeit and copyright infringement is still a big problem. Those who have filed a lawsuit against Alibaba Group Holding earlier in May include Kering SA who own Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent amongst others.

In order to stop Alibaba from selling your (fake) products, they need to be alerted that there is a seller who is selling unauthorized copies or fake versions of your product. To do this, you have to follow a procedure which deals with IP complaints on the Alibaba platform. This involves proving the ownership of your IP rights through a specially developed ‘AliProtect’ platform.

Through ‘AliProtect’, users are able to identify the infringer and demand that the infringement be brought to an end by removing the fake listing. It is not as easy as it sounds. Also, as a listing is removed, another appears. Further, proving ownership might be problematic. For example, in the UK you do not need to register copyright, whereas in the USA or China it is usual to do so. Consequently, playing a game of online “whack-a-mole” can be distracting and also disruptive to your business. If you ignore it, you risk putting your brand’s hard earned reputation, and takings, on the line.

Get Help With Intellectual Property Infringement

It’s difficult to make a complaint about intellectual property infringement when you are not sure how copyright or trademark ownership issues are decided on these platforms. It can be a time consuming exercise which will divert your attention and energy from what you ought to be doing.

Involving IP lawyers who understand counterfeits, and intellectual property infringement can save you time, energy and money in the long run by diverting sales back to authorized distributors and sellers.

Azrights has assisted clients with such problems. Identifying intellectual property, and advising on strategic, cost effective protection is an important component of such advice. Issuing take down notices to infringing parties, is essential, as is policing your brand in order to maintain its commercial allure. Get in touch to find out how we might be able to help you fight unauthorized sellers distributing fake copies of your products .

Brand and Trademark

Crocodile Wars – Lacoste’s Latest Victory On Brand And Trademark Over Polish Company’s Use Of Caiman Mark

Crocodile War - Logos

Brand and TrademarkBrand and trademark establishment is of central importance to any successful business. Maintaining a brand’s image is essential, and using trademark law to protect business reputation is an important component of that. One way of doing so is through opposition of trademark applications as demonstrated by a recent case between French retailer Lacoste and Polish clothing company ‘KAJMAN’.

The ruling of the EU General Court agreed with Lacoste’s view that there is a risk that the use of the caiman would cause confusion amongst consumers, resulting in a potential loss of prestige. The opposition against the Polish company’s application to register the sign for leather goods, clothing and footwear was therefore upheld.

Confusion can arise as a result of visual, phonetic and conceptual similarity. The Court agreed that from a conceptual perspective there was an average degree of similarity. However, visually, any such likeness was in fact very minor. Despite clear differences between the two logos, it was nevertheless necessary to appreciate the possibility of the public “recognizing and retaining a memory of the imperfect representation”. Considering that both ‘KAJMAN’ and Lacoste provide similar services the focus was on the risk that the two companies may in fact be perceived to be variants of one another.

Brand And Trademark Dispute

One of the arguments put forward by ‘KAJMAN’ was that allowing the Lacoste mark such extensive protection would result in an “unjustified monopoly” on all crocodile marks. However, the General Court was keen on recognizing the importance of being able to oppose a trademark registration specifically where there is concern over damage to a brand’s reputation.

It is interesting to note that this is not the first brand and trademark dispute in which the French company has attempted to seek exclusivity with regards to its use of the crocodile on the basis of potential confusion for its consumers. The longest lasting dispute involves Singapore based rival Crocodile International, with Lacoste attempting to assert trademark rights in China and, as of recently, in New Zealand.

In 2008, it further targeted a Gloucestershire dental practice on the basis that they registered the logo of a grinning reptile to be used on their welcome sign. Shortly after, clothing supplier Baker Street Clothing became another one of its targets after registering the mark ‘Alligator’. In both cases Lacoste was unsuccessful. The decisions were important in what seemed to be a move to limit the scope of the Lacoste trademark monopoly.

Judging from the recent victory over ‘KAJMAN’ however, it is clear that the French company remains undeterred and it seems that the Courts have begun to take on a more strict approach in what they deem to be potential trademark infringements.

For more details on the recent Lacoste victory see the article here.

Alibaba Counterfeit Goods

Alibaba Counterfeit Goods Lead To Trademark Infringement Disputes

Alibaba Counterfeit GoodsA recent dispute involving Alibaba counterfeit goods has risen between Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and a US apparel trade group over counterfeit products. Despite the attempts of the ecommerce giant Alibaba to fight selling of counterfeit goods on both Alibaba and Aliexpress, a US company is calling to put Alibaba’s Taobao site back on its list of “Notorious Markets” for counterfeit goods.

As The Wall Street Journal reports, Alibaba has had for a long time to deal with complaints from brand owners about counterfeit products ranging from luxury brands to sportswear sold on its Taobao platform. From our experience, many small businesses face such problems and find them very difficult to handle unless there is professional help on their side.

Alibaba And Its Counterfeit Approach

Generally, Alibaba has been criticized for being too soft towards counterfeit sellers. As a result, Alibaba has launched a new English version of its counterfeit reporting system called “TaoProtect”. Although AliBaba has another platform called “AliProtect” which covers its other websites, TaoProtect has been developed exclusively for dealing with a range of Intellectual Property (IP) complaints such as copyright, patent and trademark infringement and unfair use of those IP rights. This reveals the scale of the problem as well as the serious steps conglomerates such as Alibaba take to ensure IP rights are effectively protected.

Complaint To Alibaba – Is It Effective?

With the launch of the English version of TaoProtect, UK and other Western European companies would be able to access easily the counterfeit reporting system. Alibaba’s US-based senior IP protection manager commented that “because the success and integrity of our marketplaces depend on consumer trust, we have comprehensive policies and practices in place to fight IP infringement.”

The improvement in their system comes partly as a result of the lawsuit filed against Alibaba by companies like Gucci and Yves St. Laurent. The suit was filed by Kering (the fashion house which owns these brands) last May. A US District Judge in Manhattan granted some of them an immediate order barring sales of goods on Alibaba.

Lexology commented that, generally, brand owners that have secured trademark registrations in China, the US and wherever else your business operates is the safest route to tackle online infringement.

However, users of the Alibaba platforms have complained about “the slow, sluggish, and confusing systems Taobao uses to process takedown requests” for offending listings.

Do You Have The Same Problem?

Many small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) face counterfeit, trademark and copyright infringement issues. Therefore, if you need specific help, know that we have the experience of dealing with a variety of platforms in relation to trademark infringement and similar issues.