With the planned expansion of the internet through the rollout of extra extensions, it will become increasingly easy for counterfeiters to get their hands on a domain name that they can use to sell their products illegally.
This is why an effective brand protection scheme is essential, as it represents the best way for firms to protect themselves against anyone trying to act in bad faith.
A new approach to combating these issues is to combine trademark infringement action and fraud prosecution. A case in Sweden in September 2012 was the first time this option was used, Intellectual Asset Magazine reports.
The owners of the prosecuted website were claiming to offer authentic goods at a lower price than usual, which meant that individuals could be trialed under both the Trademark Act and the Penal Code provisions on fraud – ultimately leading to harsher sentences.
This case represents something of a landmark, as it could “indicate a change in how trademark infringements are seen and assessed in the legal system”.
“Traditionally, the rights holder has been considered the primary subject worthy of protection. However, in this case the court’s reasoning clearly identifies buyers of counterfeit goods as subjects in need of protection under the legal system,” the magazine stated.
It is hoped the harsher sentences that could come with the combined penalty can act as a deterrent on sellers of counterfeit products, as they are wary of seeing their jail time tripled.
Companies need to make sure they stay up-to-date with the latest developments, as this is the best way to protect themselves. They should also look to purchase any domain names they feel will be relevant to their products.
Moving forward, it may also be decided that offering harsher penalties is the best way to combat intellectual property infringements.