Guide to Brand Protection

for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises

Section 3:
Brand Protection Resources
The third section contains a list of resources – associations, groups, law enforcement agencies, training programs, etc. – that can be helpful in the protection of your brand. These resources highlight the community of brand protection professionals that exist to support you in the protection of your intellectual property rights.  
What is in this section?

3.1
E-COMMERCE RESOURCES

3.2
OTHER RESOURCES

3.3
LAW ENFORCEMENT RESOURCES

3.4
EDUCATION AND TRAINING RESOURCES

3.1: E-COMMERCE RESOURCES

Whether you are selling through an e-commerce website or not, be sure that you take time to review and understand the systems these sites have available to protect your products. There are several options offered a little or no cost that SMEs can take advantage of to enforce their IP rights on e-commerce platforms. The following list of resources will take you to e-commerce-focused programs designed to assist you in monitoring your trademarks online and addressing infringements efficiently. The A-CAPP Center does not endorse or sponsor any specific brand protection service, technology, service provider, or solution offered for fee or without fee, by a platform, service provider, or other similar entity. The information below is provided as a way to introduce you to the options that are available to you, and we encourage you to investigate the benefits of each. Ultimately, the choice of program used should be part of a larger brand protection strategy that will incorporate multiple forms of engagement. The section A Strategic Approach to IP Protection discusses how the programs like those detailed below can be effectively used as part of a holistic approach to brand protection.

International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (IACC) Programs

When you visit any of the IACC websites associated with the programs below, you will notice that they use the term “rights holder”. This term is used to refer to any company that has registered their trademarks with appropriate government agencies and has therefore been given the “rights” to protect the use of those marks. In essence, once you have registered your trademarks you become a “rights holder”.

If any of the IACC programs are of interest to you, additional information relevant specifically to SMEs is available on their website. This site is a good starting point for any SME that is interested in the IACC programs, considering membership in the IACC, or generally has questions about collaborating with other firms in their brand protection activities.

IACC MarketSafe® Program

The International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (IACC) has partnered with the Alibaba Group to assist businesses with expedited takedowns of product listings that infringe upon trademark rights. This program assists with infringing listings found on the following websites:

  • Alibaba.com
  • AliExpress.com
  • Taobao.com
  • Tmall.com
  • 1688.com

The IACC MarketSafe® program is a fee-based service that is provided to all businesses that own a trademark. However, the Alibaba Group has provided funding that makes the program free for SMEs.

An important note about the MarketSafe® program: Because this program assist with trademark enforcement on Chinese-based e-commerce sites, you must register your marks in China. We discuss how to do this in the section titled Registering your Trademarks: A Step-by-Step Guide.

IACC Amazon Program

The IACC has also partnered with Amazon to create a program designed to increase engagement and expedite enforcement actions on the platform. This program is available to all businesses that are members of the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (information about IACC membership is provided below). The primary features of the program are:

  • Opportunities to engage with Amazon team members and receive detailed reporting about enforcement activities
  • A streamlined path to Amazon and IACC staff for answers to questions and to provide feedback about your experiences
  • Opportunities for feedback and coaching to assist with enhancing the effectiveness of your online enforcement activities
  • Information about specific sellers and sales of infringing goods identified on the Amazon platform.

This program compliments Amazon’s own suite of intellectual property rights protection services.

IACC RogueBlock® Program

The RogueBlock® program is a collaboration between the IACC and payment processors that gives IACC member firms the opportunity to take advantage of a streamlined reporting process that connects them to credit card and financial services firms. Stopping the flow of money back to counterfeiters is just one way to take action against the individuals and organizations that violate trademark rights. This program allows trademark rights holders to submit information about infringing activity to payment processors so that action can be taken against the infringers, such as terminating merchant accounts and stopping payments. Importantly, this program provides businesses the opportunity to review the status of reports they have submitted and grants them access to analytical tools that can be used to help elevate brand protection activities.

Amazon Programs

Before beginning the process of enrolling in any of these programs, you should contact the Amazon Brand Registry team to discuss your needs, concerns, any prior experiences – if any – you may have had on the platform. We have not discussed the Amazon Transparency program, which is a fee-based serialization program run by Amazon. If you are interested in tracking your specific products on the Amazon platform, you can inquire about this program when getting information about the Brand Registry program.

Amazon Brand Registry Program

The Amazon Brand Registry program provides businesses with assistance promoting their own products on the platform, in addition to providing a streamlined process to search for infringing goods and submit reports to have those goods removed. The program provides businesses with round-the-clock access to investigators who can assist with questions and the removal process. In order to participate in the Amazon Brand Registry program you must have an active trademark registration or a pending registration if that registration has been filed through the Amazon IP Accelerator program. The Brand Registry system also allows you to register people who represent your business, such as lawyers or other agents, giving them access to the Brand Registry tools related to your business.

Amazon IP Accelerator Program

The Amazon IP Accelerator Program is designed to assist businesses with obtaining intellectual property rights and protecting those rights while on Amazon’s platforms. Through this program, businesses are able to access networks of attorneys who can assist with trademark registration, while working with Amazon’s brand protection group to initiate trademark protection activities on the Amazon platform.

Amazon Project Zero Program

Project Zero is an initiative designed to allow brand owners the ability to self-enforce against infringing listings found on Amazon’s platform. To be eligible for this program, you must have a registered trademark that is enrolled in the Amazon Brand Registry system and have submitted reports for infringing goods that were accepted at 90% or greater over the past six months.

Other Programs

Etsy.com and Facebook

While the the Etsy and Facebook platforms do not currently have a brand protection service available to trademark holders, you can find brand protection information below.

Wish.com Brand Partner Program

The Wish.com Brand Partner Program was developed to assist brand owners with protecting their intellectual property on the e-commerce site. Businesses must provide their trademark registration information in order to participate in this program. There is an application process that businesses must complete before participating in this program, which assists in the swift removal of infringing goods, and data regarding historical takedowns. Outside of this program, merchants and other parties can submit a report of intellectual property violations (trademark, copyright or patent) via the Wish.com site.

3.2: OTHER RESOURCES

Brand Protection Associations and Groups

American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA)

AAFA provides exclusive expertise in trade, brand protection, and supply chain & manufacturing to help our members navigate the complex regulatory environment and lower costs. Members gain unparalleled access to information and exclusive insights on regulation and policy, and premier opportunities for networking and collaboration.”61 AAFA serves as its members voice in Washington D.C. to protect brands and global reputations.62

Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG)

ACG is an international voice of business, shaping an effective response to the global trade in counterfeit and pirated goods.63 ACG works with the UK, EU, and international governments and law enforcement agencies to shape an effective deterrent to counterfeiting and to protect business and consumers from increasing dangers.64 It assists in the development of national EU and international policies, strategies, and tactics aimed at combating counterfeiting.65



Asian Coalition Against Counterfeiting and Piracy (ACACAP)

ACACAP was founded to be a single point of contact in Asia for brands wishing to engage with ethical services provides within a framework of best practice.66 It is located in Singapore, has partners in over 30 Asian countries, and provides local expertise, proactive investigations and enforcement actions.





Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network (CACN)

CACN is a coalition of individuals, businesses, and associations that have united in the fight against product counterfeiting, fraud, and copyright piracy in Canada and abroad.67 It leads and participates in a number of key activities that support anti-counterfeiting initiatives in Canada.






Center for Anti-Counterfeiting and Product Protection (A-CAPP)

The Center for Anti-Counterfeiting and Product Protection (A-CAPP) is a non-profit, independent, interdisciplinary, evidence-based hub, whose activities focus on education, outreach and research designed to assist in protecting brands and products of all industries worldwide and housed at Michigan State University.  The A-CAPP Center hosts events, an online practitioner magazine (BPP), educational programs and research for the brand protection field, including corporations, industry associations, law enforcement agencies, and researchers to address prominent issues in the area of brand protection.  

CropLife International

CropLife International and its global network are the voice and leading advocates for the plant science industry.68 It champions the role of innovations in crop protection and plant biotechnology to support and advance sustainable agriculture.69




International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (IACC)

IACC is a Washington, D.C. based non-profit organization devoted solely to combating product counterfeiting and piracy.70 The IACC is a member-driven organization that is comprised of a cross section of business and industry, which includes businesses from the automotive, apparel, luxury goods, pharmaceuticals, food, software, entertainment industries.71 Also, there are members from law firms, investigative and product security firms, government agencies, and intellectual property associations who are committed to fighting counterfeiting and piracy.72 It combats counterfeiting and piracy by promoting laws, directives, and relationships designed to render the theft of intellectual property undesirable and unprofitable.73

The IACC hosts a number of events each year, with several being region specific. The coalition’s primary event is their annual conference, which is generally held in the fall of each year in a large metropolitan city, typically in the United States. These conferences are open to brand owners, anti-counterfeiting and brand protection service providers and law enforcement agencies. Panels and discussions focus on important brand protection topics.

International Trademark Association (INTA)

INTA is a global association of brand owners and professionals dedicated to supporting trademarks and related intellectual property to foster consumer trust, economic growth, and innovation.74 INTA’s member organizations represent around 31,000 trademark professionals and include brand owners from major corporations as well as small and medium sized enterprises, law firms, and nonprofits. It serves its members and society as a trusted and influential advocate for the economic and social value of brands.75

Generally tailored toward attorneys, INTA membership is open to SMEs looking to engage in brand protection advocacy, education and IP enforcement. INTA hosts a series of conferences and meetings throughout the year, with its largest meeting occurring in the fall, generally in the same location as the IACC Annual Conference.



L’Union des Fabricants (Unifab)

Unifab is a French recognized public-interest organization that includes more than two hundred enterprises from all sectors of activity.

It promotes international protection of intellectual property fighting against counterfeiting by lobbying, training, and its sensitization operations.76 These operations include establishing a permanent contact with the media and organizing national and European events.77


Quality Brands Protection Committee

QBPC’s mission is to make contributions to facilitate and promote the continuous improvement of administrative and judicial protection for intellectual property in China.78 It actively hosts seminars and training workshops, provides opinions regarding IPR laws and regulations to the legislative bodies in China, and builds up a good reputation and credibility within China.79 It has evolved into an effective bridge and link between the Chinese government and international organizations and other enterprises.80

3.3: LAW ENFORCEMENT RESOURCES

Europol

Europol supports the 28 EU Member States in fighting against organized forms of crime, as well as working with many non-EU partner states and international organizations.81 Fighting intellectual property crime is a key priority for Europol, and to strengthen the fight against counterfeiting a piracy, it has joined forces with the European Union Intellectual Property Office to create the Intellectual Property Crime Coordinated Coalition.82


National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center)

Led by the United States Homeland Security Investigations, the IPR Center prides itself as being “at the forefront of America’s response to intellectual property theft and its enforcement of international trade law.83 It brings together 23 key federal and international agencies in a task force using a three-pronged approach to combat intellectual property and commercial fraud crimes.84

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

The CBP works in conjunction with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the IPR Center to target and seize imports of counterfeit and pirated goods, and enforce exclusion order on patent-infringing and other intellectual property rights violative goods.85 In 2018, this cohort seized 33,810 shipments of violative goods at the border.86

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)

Within the USPTO, its Enforcement team operates to improve intellectual property protection and enforcement domestically and abroad.87

3.4: TRAINING AND EDUCATION RESOURCES

A-CAPP Center Brand Protection Professional Certificate

The Professional Certificate in Anti-Counterfeiting and Brand Protection from the A-CAPP Center is a comprehensive training program designed to teach the skills and knowledge professionals need to be efficient, proactive and strategic in brand protection. Designed from direct experience and feedback from the top protection professionals from around the world, the A-CAPP Center employs an evidence based approach for its certificate that provides core concepts and competencies needed to become a brand protection professional who is better prepared to face the legal, business, strategic and security challenges of your industry.

Stopfakes.gov

Stopfakes.gov is a program run by the U.S. Department of Commerce that provides a host of educational and training materials for trademark holders.

Disclaimer: The intent of this guide is a tool and should not be considered legal advice.