Most companies can identify their assets pretty easily – buildings, vehicles, machinery and so on – and they take a number of steps to protect them. Few, however, give sufficient thought to protecting what is arguably their most valuable asset: their brand.
For larger, public-facing companies – such as high street retailers – the investment in building brand recognition can run into millions of pounds per year. Little wonder, then, that there are dishonest individuals and organised gangs out there who want to steal a share of the returns on that investment.
Make no mistake: brand infringement is big business. Take, for example, the case of Volvo Trucks. Back in 2010, Volvo Trademark Holding AB – which is jointly owned by AB Volvo and Volvo Car Corporation and is responsible for protecting Volvo brands and licensing the right to use them – struck back at the criminals during a German trade fair. With their temporary nature and huge footfall, exhibitions are naturally an easy target for brand thieves. At the world’s largest automotive parts fair, Automechanika in Frankfurt, Volvo found no less than 13 exhibitors that were selling imitation parts or otherwise infringing Volvo’s brand, patents and designs. Said Monica Dempe, President of Volvo Trademark Holding AB, at the time, “Parts, brochures and posters were seized on the spot and various kinds of follow-up action will now be taken against the people responsible. This most usually involves warning letters, but, should the infringements be repeated, fines and other types of punishment may be considered.” She continued, “Infringements are made against countless other products and we have even seen complete fake buses.”
With brand infringement and intellectual property theft being big business, brand protection and intellectual property protection need to be taken extremely seriously. SPI are able to provide brand protection services and intellectual property watch. We undertake investigation work and gather evidence in cases of brand infringement, the sale of counterfeit goods or wherever there is an intellectual property issue. We can design a bespoke investigation that, in addition to surveillance, may include mystery shopping and test purchase services. Our report will include photographic and DVD evidence that will assist your legal team in cases of brand protection litigation or intellectual property litigation.