Los Angeles, CA – Despite significant government efforts, China remains the world’s primary source of counterfeit goods, constituting 84 percent of shipment seizures in the US in 2012.
Experts, in fact, predict that the online trade of counterfeit goods in China will surpass the physical trade of such goods in the next two to three years.
The problem seems too vast and overwhelming to surmount, however, says Bob Youill, senior managing director in the Global Risk and Investigations practice of New York-based FTI Consulting, “doing so will never be easy, but it can be done” if companies take the appropriate steps.
In an article published this week in the FTI Journal, Youill, an acknowledged authority on product piracy, makes several suggestions on what US-based exporters, importers, retailers and manufacturers can do to stop the production, distribution and sale of counterfeit goods.
First, he says, declare your intellectual property. An effective anti-counterfeiting strategy for China, he says, “begins with begins with registering the relevant intellectual property rights in China, as Beijing doesn’t automatically recognize IP rights registered overseas.”
That done, writes Youill, “quantify the risk to your brand with in-house counsel working directly with key stakeholders to review the company’s markets inside and outside China and organize those markets into those that must be protected and those that are less important to focus on.”
Next, it needs to be understood that the primary responsibility for managing counterfeiting will rest mostly with in-house counsel and will involve representatives from different corporate functions, including a PR lead, external consultants, and internal stakeholders. To achieve that goal, “build your anti-counterfeit team.”
When considering tackling organized counterfeiting operations, a “best course of action” should be strategized that carefully analyzes various tactics that could include ‘street sweeps,’ Customs watches, administrative action, and civil or criminal proceedings.
Lastly, says Youill, “There are a number of risks to manage when dealing with Chinese authorities, such as controlling sensitive corporate information, fulfilling government requests for documents, overseeing internal reporting and complying with reporting rules. So, learn how to work with them.”