Matthias Rößler - 14. December 2022

Counterfeit products on the Internet

The Internet as a transshipment point for pirated goods

Counterfeit products are now also distributed on a large scale via e-commerce - the global trade of goods via online marketplaces, websites and social media. The copied branded goods are no longer only transported to the target markets by shipping containers, but increasingly via mail as individual parcels.

Against product piracy - cooperation with customs

According to the annual statistics of the German customs, counterfeit goods worth 315 million euros were seized in 2021. This is about 25% more than in the previous year.

IPR holders are strongly advised to collect evidence (e.g., screenshots, web links, ...) in the course of carefully monitoring online trading venues if it is determined that an online store or website is trading in a copy of the goods.

Customs can seize the counterfeit products when they are imported into or exported from Germany. The decisive factor is that the infringement is obvious.

It is also a requirement that the products and goods must be protected by patent or trademark law and that the trademark must have been registered in all countries in which the manufacturer operates. In addition, customs can also seize counterfeits imported from non-EU countries, provided that a commercial purpose is evident at the time of importation.

Internet monitoring: search for infringing imitations

Counterfeit products in the e-commerce sector can also be detected or identified with the use of machine-learning-based software.

The tools automatically search for counterfeits on websites, online marketplaces as well as on social media channels and enable counterfeit goods offers to be found regardless of language, time of day and country borders.

Reporting systems

The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) is working with various online marketplaces to combat product piracy. A large number of marketplaces have now set up reporting systems through which companies and consumers can report anomalies.

Defending innovation and intellectual property against the attack of product pirates

The most effective protection strategy is the early filing and registration of intellectual property rights. To prevent intellectual property infringement, we advise our clients on the extent to which the product in question is protectable and what product adaptations can be made to obtain patent, trademark or design protection.

Only with registered property rights can legal action against product and trademark piracy be efficiently initiated. karo IP Patentanwälte supports clients in obtaining preliminary injunctions, in border seizure proceedings and in asserting claims for information, damages and destruction.

Regarding Matthias Rößler:

Matthias Rößler, German and European Patent Attorney since 2003, studied mechanical engineering at the RWTH Aachen. He is co-founding partner of karo IP. A main focus of his practice is the management of large patent portfolios and the enforcement of bilateral litigation proceedings before patent offices and patent courts. His additional qualification as Master of Laws (LL.M.) qualifies him especially for multinational infringement matters in Europe.

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