October 01, 2018

Fighting Counterfeiting in Social Networks

Counterfeiting is also very common on social networks. The "Real Deal Online" anti-counterfeiting campaign is now launching a project to curb the sale of counterfeit goods through social media groups. This is to be done by raising the awareness of group operators on social platforms for brand piracy.

The “Real Deal Online” campaign is currently launching in the UK. Its innovative approach is aimed primarily at the administrators of so-called buy-and-sell groups (closed user groups on social media), where products are traded by private users. In particular, communication and information about piracy are in the focus and the group operators are informed about their obligations with regard to product piracy. Administrators should be aware of their legal responsibility to "prevent the sale of counterfeit goods and other illegal products within their groups."

The initiative is being launched jointly by the National Trading Standards eCrime team (NTSeCT) and the National Markets Group for IP Protection (NMG). Unlike similar initiatives, the program, which is supported by the UK government, does not address the platform operators or primarily the users of social media platforms. Instead, especially the administrators of the buy-and-sell groups are addressed directly.

The reason for this is the anonymous sales concept behind these groups: Sellers show ads; Interested parties often pick up the goods personally and then pay in cash. A goods “supply chain” and payments are therefore poorly detectable. Thus, these buy-and-sell groups are also a popular distribution channel for counterfeiting.

As part of their campaign, “Real Deal Online” is now asking group operators to accept the underlying principles of action. Among other things, administrators are committed to prohibiting counterfeiting in their groups and responding to relevant notices from consumers and users. Similarly, suspected cases must be reported to the authorities and their warnings should be highlighted within the group. Also, the respective group members are to be informed about anti-counterfeit measures. Groups agreeing to these terms may then use a "Real Deal logo".

It is also currently under discussion to transfer "Real Deal Online" to other countries.


Sources: Real Deal, World Trademark Review