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Counteract Counterfeits

By: Rick Van Arnam, Esq.
Posted: August 26, 2008, from the October 2007 issue of GCI Magazine.

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2. Register your trademarks and trade names with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

This is an easy and inexpensive step that can lead to government interdiction at the border, but it is one that many companies fail to take. If counterfeit merchandise is seized, CBP will advise you of the names and addresses of the exporter and importer, allowing for the potential of taking additional steps directly against the offending party. In addition, take the further step of educating customs agencies on how to distinguish your legitimate product from knockoffs.

3. Know your vendors and manufacturers.

They are making your product, and you need to be sure that they are not making additional units of your merchandise on the side.

4. Identify Web sites, especially auction sites, selling counterfeit merchandise.

Become familiar with the auction house policies that allow legitimate rights holders to identify themselves and to have the auction house remove offending auctions. For example, this is called Verified Rights Owner Program on eBay; on Sell.com, it is called the Rights Owner Compliance Systems.

5. Educate your employees on these issues.

Make sure employees understand the importance of protecting your company’s valuable rights. Your employees need to know that counterfeiting damages the company’s reputation, as well as the ramifications thereof.