Most of the growth of the $1 trillion-plus in annual global sales of counterfeit goods is the result of counterfeiters’ and intermediaries’ use of the Internet to extend their reach to consumers all over the world. In addition to traditional counterfeiting, there has been an explosion in trademark infringement which does not rise to the level of counterfeiting (eg, use of a similar mark or use of an identical mark on different goods). Further, registration and use of fraudulent domain names and websites and use of online auctions to distribute stolen and misdirected merchandise can cause other headaches for brand owners.
This article examines the specific categories of online trademark infringement – namely, domain names, websites, online auction platforms, keywords and related IP rights infringement (eg, copyright). The purpose of this analysis is not to explain all of the nuances of these segments, but rather to create a roadmap to organising a coherent, prioritised and cost-effective plan which accounts for differences in fact patterns, legal liability and strategies, depending on the nature of the infringement.
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This article first appeared in Online Brand Enforcement 2014, a supplement to World Trademark Review, published by The IP Media Group. To view the issue in full, please go to www.worldtrademarkreview.com.