It’s no surprise that consumers across the world are turning to online shopping in greater numbers than ever during the pandemic. These purchasing behaviours are likely to last beyond country lockdowns, accelerating the shift to online commerce.
It’s also no surprise that online infringement continues to grow. Inter-governmental organisations (such as Interpol) and private platforms (such as Amazon) have already removed huge volumes of offers of suspected fake COVID-19 related products. Strained household incomes and stressed legitimate supply chains are likely to further fuel counterfeit activity online.
What should IP managers do?
- In the absence of offline sales and at a time of budget pressure for many businesses, there may be a temptation to move entire brand protection budgets online to support legitimate sales. Brand protection strategies must adapt to support the evolving priorities of the business, but they also need to take an informed longer term view of what activity is likely to be impactful.
- Online monitoring and takedown activity to “clean the windows” certainly helps reduce noise and wider brand interference, but this alone is unlikely to have long term deterrent impact. Focusing resources on targeted online to offline enforcement to disrupt the most persistent adversaries can deliver more significant returns on investment.
- Direct business-to-platform engagement remains key. Deep and active relationships with platforms are a highly valuable asset in these turbulent times.