The enforcement of rights in China is a challenge for brand owners. As is well known, large portions of all counterfeit goods are manufactured in China. Asia as a whole is a growth market. Brand owners therefore have to try and prevent the distribution of Chinese manufactured counterfeit goods while building market share in these emerging markets.
China is different. Brands can’t simply apply strategies that work in other parts of the world and expect success. It’s necessary to build trust with Chinese marketplaces and then learn how to navigate their changing policies to build that trust.
The Chinese Market: Opportunities and Challenges
The production and sale of counterfeit goods is a global, multi-billion dollar problem and one that has serious economic ramifications for businesses and consumers. It’s important to keep in mind that China is the world’s workshop for legitimate and counterfeit goods. It is also a place with rapidly growing local purchasing power and great potential.
Building a Strong IP Portfolio
Success begins by building a strong IP portfolio. Even when brand owners think that they've taken the necessary steps to build a strong IP portfolio by securing Chinese trademarks, they find that what they’ve done isn’t enough. Brands should take into account variations in local use of a brand name, in both Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese translations. To secure your brands in China, engage with local partners to regularly assess the strength of your IP portfolio.
Brand owners should make counterfeit versions of their products difficult to find by keeping highly trafficked pages clear of counterfeit product. This requires focusing efforts on identifying and engaging high-value targets. Going after the biggest players require investigative resources, an adaptive strategy, and partnering with local resources.
Weak affiliate agreements and guidelines result in distribution channels quickly growing out of control. The result is that while your original distributors might only sell authentic product, at the bottom of the chain you’ll see authentic products mixed with counterfeit goods. This can be avoided by strengthening agreements, and being tough on those who break them.
Leveraging Local Partners
Leveraging a recognized partner in brand protection helps build trust with marketplaces and improves compliance rates. A partner can also help you understand local enforcement complexities and address unique problems that require a customized approach.
For a complete analysis of these trends please click here to see the one-hour webinar where I discuss all aspects of Chinese Marketplaces in detail.