Breaking the mould


Brand protection specialist INCOPRO has expanded its presence to Caerphilly, Wales. Helen Saunders, COO of INCOPRO, explains the company’s new brand protection efforts

How will opening a new office help INCOPRO’s current brand protection efforts?

Firstly, we are partnering with WRi Group, an investigations and intelligence company, which will enhance what we do online by providing an offline perspective. This is essential to providing a comprehensive service to our clients and is already bearing fruit.

Secondly, there is a good pool of talent in the area, with several excellent universities and the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) on the doorstep. The National Software Academy is a great initiative by the University of Cardiff and we are looking to build strong working relationships with that institution and others in the area.

Both of these points not only help us to enhance what we already do but give us the ability to deliver new services and added value too.

The Welsh government has provided £500,000 to support your expansion. How will Incopro make the best use of this money? What are your future goals?

We are creating 80 jobs in the area over the next three years. This money will allow us to attract talent in terms of both the multi-lingual analysts we have but also in terms of our technical teams. We are growing fast and are proud to support some of the biggest brands in the world, this will serve to increase the pace and effectiveness of what we can do for them and many other brands too.

Incopro has seen a lot of action in 2017, with the expansion of its operations and partnerships with brands like BBC Worldwide and Ted Baker. What makes INCOPRO’s services attractive to these brands?

Our ethos is to provide an excellent service to our clients and to act very much as a partner in their efforts to grow and build their brands. We have intelligence at the heart of what we do and this approach manifests in things like our image matching, clustering and prioritisation algorithms. These are all key to providing a high-quality technical solution to the scale of infringement faced by brands but also enable our own analysts and the in-house teams at the brands to do a lot more to tackle their infringement problems with the resources they have available.

With the rise of social media as a venue for counterfeit trading, what is INCOPRO doing to tackle new forms of counterfeiting and counterfeit communications?

We are always looking to keep pace and, ideally, anticipate the way in which technology will be used by counterfeiters. Social media is something we’ve done a lot with over the past year, as the brands we work with have seen it used in any number of ways to exploit their IP more generally.

We are looking at platforms such as WeChat and Snapchat as key enablers to the counterfeiting ecosystem and how we might be able to help clients solve problems there.

A good example of us staying ahead of emerging issues is 3D printing. We’ve supported this area of IP exploitation from day one and have prevented 3D models that infringe a brands IP from being made available online.

The UKIPO has said that a lack of comparable data in this area means that more time and work is needed to fully understand the issue of counterfeits on social media. How is Incopro working to help in this area and what can be done in the meantime?

We are always looking to help with understanding the issue by providing studies and other insights with the data that we collect.

Social media is very dynamic and is changing every day, so communicating trends to our clients and bodies such as the UKIPO is something that we are keen to ensure.

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