We talk a lot about the value of effective counterfeit labeling countermeasures as a way to protect a company's trademark and brand integrity. A perfect example of this theory in action was provided Monday by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The FBI instituted a crackdown Cyber Monday on websites it believed were selling counterfeit or otherwise illegal goods. Criminals, preying on consumers who were looking for great holiday deals online, offered up fake sports jerseys, electronics, handbags and sporting equipment.
According to an FBI press release, the agency deployed investigators who would purchase items – most of which were shipping to the United States from abroad – from suspicious websites. These products would then be crosschecked with the legitimate trademark holders, who would verify whether they were real or fake.
Websites that were found to be selling counterfeit goods were then seized by the federal government. The press release says 150 sites were shut down in the operation, up from 82 during last year's Cyber Monday crackdown.
The operation was originally launched in June 2010 and has occurred in eight phases, resulting in the seizure of 350 domain names. It's all part of the FBI's effort to protect trademark holders' intellectual property.
"Through this operation we are aggressively targeting those who are selling counterfeit goods for their own personal gain while costing our economy much needed revenue and jobs," said Attorney General Eric Holder. "Intellectual property crimes harm businesses and consumers, alike, threatening economic opportunity and financial stability."
Of course, if you're less-than-confident in your own company's ability to protect intellectual property, it may help to analyze your supply chain solutions. A little consultation can go a long way toward identifying instances of counterfeit labeling with products carrying your company's trademark.