Businesses must not be distracted from brand protection efforts in the economic downturn, an international trade association has urged. According to a recent survey carried out by intellectual property firm Marks & Clerk as many as 80 percent of managers are “too busy” to spend more time on brand protection or only get involved once a counterfeiting or competitive threat has emerged. The survey also revealed that just a fifth are spending more time on brand protection.
Against this backdrop, the International Authentication Association (IAA), a global organization set up to lead the fight against counterfeiting, has stressed the need for brand and product owners to have a comprehensive and constant anti-counterfeiting strategy in place. It warns against a reduction in time and investment on brand protection.
The survey’s results come at a time when the need for brand and product protection has never been greater with the threat of counterfeiting and piracy spiraling. The latest report by the Organization of Economic Development (OECD) estimates that the global counterfeiting market has topped $US200 billion, while the Counterfeiting and Intelligence Bureau (CIB) predicts fake goods will make up to 7 percent of world trade.
"There's no doubt that budgets are under threat in the current climate but not protecting your brand correctly is not an option,” explains David Howard, chair of the IAA. "Counterfeiters need little excuse at the best of times and economic hardship is likely to be a recipe for increased criminality. If companies are cutting back on their anti-counterfeiting efforts, the market will be more attractive for fakes."
While companies will inevitably be taking a hard look at their costs, combating counterfeits is proven to be an effective way to maintain turnover and market share. "The costs of protecting your products are low compared to the problems and financial headaches that counterfeiting and infringement will bring a business further down the line. Authentication technologies should be a key component of this," adds Howard.
The IAA comprises 20 of the world's leading brand owners and suppliers of authentication technologies. Among them are Johnson & Johnson, Honeywell, 3M Brand and Asset Protection, Authentix, and Dupont Authentication and Hologram Industries.