Imagine a football manager who bemoans the fact that the opposition is invincible and his team never wins. Yet match after match he fields only nine players instead of the full complement of eleven. He’d be branded as a madman – and his career would probably be very short-lived.
The war against the pirates is tough. The battles aren’t easily won. But I am constantly amazed why many companies that are targeted by the pirates choose not to use all the weapons in their arsenal, not to field a full team of players. It is neither as difficult nor as dear as many people think.
Defence. CTM registration and design registration of business critical elements should be a matter of course for all brand managers in Europe. But there is still a remarkable number who don’t do their homework.
Midfield. An overall European strategy and a central EU application for customs seizures of counterfeit goods should be another obvious course of action for most rights holders. Don’t make the mistake of turning a blind eye to shipments under a certain size! Container ships stashed with thousands of pirated products are more or less a thing of the past, replaced by myriads of small packages to individual recipients.
Attack. Make life awkward for the pirates! Find out what it is that they find most difficult to copy, and develop and use these elements. 3D printing, watermarks, metallic thread and complicated patterns can give you the upper hand.
Goalkeeper. Ultimately it is the customs authorities that actually prevent counterfeits from reaching the market. Unfortunately, our borders are often protected by just a handful of customs officers working within small budgets. The more help you can give them – for example, by letting them know which countries the copies are coming from, what the originals look like and how to spot the difference – the more effectively they can help you.
The struggle against the pirates is a tough one. But if all the rights holders always field a full team, the prospects are good for moving closer to the victory we are seeking.
Kristina Fredlund, Attorney at Law