London
12 June 2017
Reporter: Barney Dixon

Majority of brands face online infringement


More than 90 percent of brand owners who responded to a Hogan Lovells survey have experienced intellectual property infringement online.

The Hogan Lovells Brand Benchmarking 2017 survey covered more than 200 organisations with varying trademark portfolio sizes from a broad range of industries, such as technology, media, industrials, life sciences, and consumer fashion and luxury brands.

Hogan Lovells found that the bigger the portfolio, the more chance of infringement.

More than two-thirds of large portfolio owners in Europe and three quarters in North America said they experience regular misuse of their trademarks.

Only one quarter of respondents based in the Asia Pacific region experience regular misuse of their trademarks online.

Hogan Lovells said this is likely down to a disparity between the regions in actively screening for infringement.

More than 50 of respondents in Europe and North America regularly screen for online misuse of their trademarks, compared to less than 20 percent of respondents in the Asia Pacific region.

“Worryingly, for many, online infringement is a bigger problem than they suspect and they should consider taking more proactive steps,” according to Hogan Lovells.

“Common sense dictates there is a strong correlation between looking for infringements and finding them.”

Hogan Lovells added: “There may be various reasons for the seemingly insufficient searches for online misuse by many companies. Informal discussions with companies indicate a lack of resources and an insufficient return on taking action against online infringements involving small quantities of goods are the reasons.”

“However, it appears that companies, especially those based in the Asia Pacific region, are neglecting this problem too much and should take steps to increase the online screening and protection of their valuable brands.”

Only a third of brand owners regularly screen for online infringement, according to Hogan Lovells.

On an industry by industry basis, online trademark infringement was most prevalent for respondents in the entertainment, automotive and consumer industries.

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