Intellectual property on the internet (Brands, Tokens, NFTS, software, musical works, videos, etc.)

With the massive use of the internet, violations and non-consensual uses of intellectual and industrial property have multiplied with attacks against:

  • Trademarks and distinctive signs
  • Identity fraud in social networks
  • Fraudulent websites: Cybersquatting or the same domain names to take advantage of your brand, Typosquatters (similar domains with typos), imitation websites
  • Patents, theft, copying, non-consensual use, violations
  • Copyright, intellectual, scientific, literary or artistic creations: computer programs, musical and literary works, online courses, publications, downloads, possession and distribution of illegal files …
  • Tokens and NFTs.
  • Products: Counterfeits, illegal copies, piracy…

How do we protect ourselves? What is trademark and Intellectual Property protection?

Trademark protection is the process of protecting the intellectual property (IP) of companies and their associated brands against counterfeiters, copyright pirates, and infringers of other types of IP, such as patents, design rights, color marks and commercial image.

This is done not only to protect a company’s lost revenue, but also to protect the company’s image, reputation, and overall value. Basically, brand protection prevents brand abuse.

intellectual property

What is IP and Trademark Abuse?

Trademark abuse is a term that generally refers to a third party infringing on a brand’s intellectual property to take advantage of its reputation.

Trademark abuse can take many forms, including, but not limited to:


A counterfeit product mimics the product of an original brand, but is manufactured unofficially, by external sources. The fake product will use the logos and trademarks of the authentic brand without permission in an attempt to mislead customers. By 2022, the global counterfeiting industry is projected to be worth $ 4.2 trillion.

Fraudulent websites

Fraudulent websites are sites created with malicious intent, either against a legitimate company or by violating its IP. There are several ways:

  • Imitation sites; websites that attempt to impersonate the website of an existing original brand.
  • Cybersquatters; sites that claim domain names to take advantage of the trademarks of other brands.
  • Typosquatters; these depend on Internet users making mistakes when typing the addresses of other websites.

Copyright piracy

A copyright is the legal protection granted to the creators of artistic, literary and scientific works. Trademarks must protect their copyrights, even if they do not create works of art, books, or scientific reports. Counterfeiters will copy authentic product photos and use them to promote and legitimize their own illegal product listings online.

Occupation of trademarks

They register trademarks in bad faith. This can occur in a number of ways, including overseas registration of trademarks belonging to trademarks that have not yet been registered in those countries and transliteration issues.

Theft of patents

Patents are legal protections given to inventive products that provide an innovative solution to a problem. Inventors who have created a new product are entitled to patent protection, as it prohibits third parties from using patents and benefiting from the time and money invested in designing the invention.

Identity theft in social networks

Counterfeiting and forms of IP theft in general are growing rapidly on social media and having a huge negative effect.

Unofficial third parties create social media accounts by mimicking original brands, then use their fake profiles to sell counterfeits, send users to phishing pages, and sometimes distribute harmful malware.

Negative consequences for brands

These attacks on Intellectual Property is not only that someone is making money as a company isolated from the black market but also has other detrimental effects for the company that suffers the attacks:

Drop in sales: If counterfeiters can produce IP-protected products and can offer them at a price considerably lower than the original brand, that brand will undoubtedly suffer a considerable impact on their sales.

Reputation: brands work hard to establish a reputation in the market. When attacked by counterfeiters, that reputation can be jeopardized, leading potential customers to shun your brand in favor of brands deemed more reliable and high-quality.

Losing the trust of your partners: The actions of counterfeiters can greatly undermine trust between companies that can take years to develop. Distributors will see counterfeiters offering products at a much cheaper price than the minimum price agreed to with the authentic brand, or they will think that their exclusive rights are being betrayed and will blame the brand they have been working with for years.

Attention to deceived customers: many consumers of counterfeit products do not know that they are buying counterfeit products when they make the purchase. When counterfeits prove to be poor quality products, consumers turn to the authentic brand for replacement and are frustrated to learn that they have been misled.

The resources it costs to fight counterfeiting and other attacks on IP: Even the act of fighting counterfeiters can be a time consuming and costly process that draws resources from other departments in a company. Huge sums of money can be invested in paying attorneys in an attempt to keep counterfeiting problems to a minimum, often to little avail.

How to protect your brand and Intellectual Property

Knowing how to keep intellectual property protected is essential knowledge for many brands.

There are a number of strategies that brands can implement to help them fight offenders, both in the online and offline world.

  • Register your intellectual property: Without formally registering intellectual property, there are very few real legal recourse for brands that suffer from brand abuse. In fact, without the formally registered trademarks, counterfeiters would be free to copy logos and trademarks. Registering intellectual property should be the first step in creating a brand protection solution.
  • NDA with partners (confidentiality agreement): This is especially important for brands with patent-protected designs and processes. Agreeing to work with other companies without protection for confidential information can put a brand at great risk.
  • Fight against fraudulent websites: Fraudulent websites are sites created for malicious or criminal purposes. They come in a number of variations, all of which are potentially brand-damaging. You can combat this by registering domain names relevant to your brand and removing harmful sites.
  • Have a strong social media presence: As social media grows as a major platform for counterfeiters, brands must maintain a strong presence to establish themselves as authentic. Using on-site reporting tools and using undercover accounts are vital to weeding out bad actors on social media.
  • Educate your customers: Helping customers recognize the differences between legitimate and counterfeit products will better prepare them to avoid being misled. Educating people about the general harms of counterfeiting will also make them less likely to search for counterfeit products.
  • Hire a brand protection service that works in 4 phases:
    • They detect and find violations online, wherever they are. This can include a spoofed e-commerce listing, a fraudulent website, or a social media profile posing as your identity, along with other forms of infringement.
    • They validate. Ensuring that infringement-labeled products are actually infringements is an important step. Validation is used so that genuine companies are not mistakenly penalized when attempting to enforce intellectual property rights.
    • Application. The app is the step to truly eliminate IP infringement online. This includes removing the offending product from an online marketplace, removing a scam website, or closing the copycat social media account.
    • They report. Reporting refers to presenting information to brands that is useful and actionable, in order to be aware of the status of intellectual property online and then improve the process of brand protection in the future.

Do I need trademark and IP protection?

If you sell a trademarked product, then you are potentially at risk of counterfeiting and you should seriously consider employing a brand protection strategy.

That said, there are three main types of companies that are at especially high risk of being targeted by counterfeiters: product innovators, value brand companies, and design-focused companies.

The reason these types of companies are so often at risk of counterfeiting is the enormous investment of time and effort they put into creating a respected brand, conducting research and development of their products, and carefully designing their products even before its launch.

Product innovators

Young and innovative companies that sell a product that breaks the market. Companies like these require a lot of ingenuity and creativity, as well as research and development funding in many cases, to create a product that is simple to use, yet solves a common problem in a way that no other company has been able to.

Brand value

Well established and respected companies that rely on the strength of their brand names to sell product lines. Brand equity companies build on years of carefully building their brand recognition, reputation, and style to make their products popular, respected, and recognizable.

Focused on design

Companies that excel at creating ergonomic and aesthetically pleasing products. They require a creative and artistic eye to be able to design products with elegance and beauty.