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Article · 27.02.2019

How to minimise the risk of copycats on Amazon?

Oust the copycats! Five tips on how you can minimise the risk of infringements on Amazon.

Amazon recently broadened its Nordic presence by launching the amazon.se platform. The move signalled the global behemoth’s official foray into the Nordics in search of growth opportunities. To date, the Nordic region has been a market where relatively small independent web shops have flourished, but that time has passed.

At Patrade, we’re seeing more and more that when companies fail to serve a market, there are always other players who are more than willing to step in. Of course, this is what conventional competitive thinking would dictate, but in a digital, globalised world where sales rely on search rankings and barriers to entry are virtually non-existent, Danish businesses have more to worry about than just the competition.

Imitators, fraudsters and even ignorant salespeople who might be tempted by an aspirational brand with a high-value search word can easily operate under the radar and gain high rankings with e-portal algorithms simply by being first on the scene. It’s only too easy for them to find someone on Alibaba, the Chinese B2B platform, to manufacture their imitations and then sell them on to consumers on Amazon – in some cases without even physically handling the goods themselves.

Trying to cover every aspect may therefore feel overwhelming, but that only leads us to ask companies the following question: If it’s so easy for freeloaders to operate on Amazon and other e-commerce platforms, what’s stopping you from being there too, and how do you stop infringers?

Having one or more registered trademarks gives you a competitive edge, provided you have protected them. If you are being swarmed by successful imitators, you have overlooked a business opportunity. But it doesn’t mean, it’s too late to strike back. Here are five simple tips that have proven effective in combatting infringements:

  1. Maintain a presence in all profitable markets, either through your own organisation or through dealers or distributors. A number of platforms provide tools that enable IP rights holders to strengthen their businesses. One of them is Amazon Brand Registry, a functionality on the Amazon site, where you can build promotional pages and avail yourself of enhanced protection features.
  2. Apply for the relevant IP rights, especially in the EU and China, such as trademarks enabling you to protect against the misuse of search words or perhaps the often overlooked, but inexpensive and effective, design right for enforcement against counterfeits.
  3. Apply effective and verifiable pricing management, so imitations can be distinguished from originals.
  4. Make sure your distributors use your marketing material, including your trademarks and images, partly to be able to identify infringements, but mainly to position your brand with consumers and build trust.
  5. Engage and work with a specialist legal adviser who is familiar with your products and able to have infringing products removed from e-commerce platforms with a view to gaining high search rankings for your product originals.

If you are not present in a potential market, copycats will fill the gap for you, but there are effective tools available to prevent or deal with such issues. It may all sound like a lot of hassle, but to us it’s not! We have a dedicated team and for them, it’s all in a day’s work. At Patrade, we usually say: We watch out for counterfeits so you don’t have to.