Electronics Giant Zaps Counterfeiters

Electronics Giant Zaps Counterfeiters

Background:

The number of people shopping online has exploded in the past year. While sales through brick-and-mortar stores remain strong, online incentives including competitive pricing, free shipping, and exclusive offers create a digital environment in which brand holders flourish. Unfortunately, legitimate companies aren’t the only ones taking advantage of this new retail landscape, online markets are flooded with cheap knock-offs and counterfeits, creating both consumer and brand confusion.

The Business Challenge:

A global leader in the portable electronics industry was facing a glut of cheaply made knock-off products across multiple online marketplaces. While utilizing a traditional enforcement process to the listings, it was quickly becoming a no-win situation; as soon as one listing was taken down, ten more would pop up. It was spiraling into an out of control scenario and the company stood to lose millions to unscrupulous bad actors.

The Appdetex Solution:

  • AppDetex utilized their proprietary advanced search, and filtering and labeling technology, and were quickly able to identify potentially infringing sellers.
  • Test buys were initiated and questionable products were sent to the brand holder for verification of authenticity.
  • Upon proper identification of fraudulent products, the listings were traced back to larger entities, resulting in a takedown at the top of the chain rather than multiple smaller takedowns of individual listings.
  • The brand holder partnered with customs and border patrol agencies to help identify counterfeit products, resulting in the seizure of the knock-off and counterfeit items before they could reach domestic distribution channels.
  • AppDetex set up a security system, which scans the online marketplaces 24/7 to uncover other sellers that added or used the company’s mark or name on their products. The AppDetex online interface allowed the customer to enter and track as many sellers and brands as necessary to secure the brand’s integrity.

Gaming System Titan’s Legal Department Teams Up with AppDetex to Stop Counterfeits

Gaming System Titan’s Legal Department Teams Up with Appdetex to Stop Counterfeits

Background:

Online spending is exploding, with an increase of over 60% in the first half of 2017 alone. Unfortunately, not all products sold online are legitimate. Counterfeit and knock-off products not only cost a brand financially but can also impact reputation and undermine consumer confidence. For this reason, monitoring online marketplaces is a critical component of brand protection.

The Business Challenge:

A titan in the world of gaming systems and peripheral accessories discovered a vast quantity of counterfeit and knock-off products infringing on their IP in the marketplaces. Concerned not only with their bottom line but with their reputation as a maker of high-quality products, the company turned to their legal department for help.

That legal team partnered with Appdetex to maximize their ability to monitor, identify, and eliminate not only the fraudulent listings but also identify and neutralize the sources of the listings.

The Appdetex Solution

  • Mindful of customer time and resources, as well as avoiding ‘whack a mole’ type enforcements, Appdetex worked to show program efficacy.
  • The top 20% of bad actors are responsible for 80% of fraudulent listings within a given category. Focusing enforcement efforts on these sellers, Appdetex was able to quickly address the most egregious sellers and more thoroughly handle subsequent takedown and evolution. From this, Appdetex provided any discovered intelligence and seller profiles to the customer, allowing swifter offline action to take place.
  • Appdetex utilized their proprietary targeted search, filtering and labeling technology to quickly identify potentially infringing sellers.
  • Test buys were initiated, and questionable products sent to the brand holder for verification of authenticity.
  • As seller aliases were identified, the connected profiles were further targeted, resulting in a takedown at the top of the chain rather than multiple smaller takedowns of individual listings.
  • Appdetex turned this information over to the brand holder’s legal team who then worked with customs and border control officials to help identify counterfeit products, resulting in the seizure of the knock-off items.
  • Appdetex set up a security system to scan the online marketplaces 24/7 to uncover any new infringers utilizing the company’s marks or brand names in their listings. The Appdetex online interface allows customers to enter and track as many sellers and brands as necessary to secure the brand’s integrity.

Financial Service Brand Manager Stops Rogue Apps in Their Tracks

Financial Service Brand Manager Stops Rogue Apps in Their Tracks

Background:

The major app stores are home to over 4 million apps, and growing by the hour. A number of apps in these stores are copycat apps—apps that mimic the look and feel of a legitimate app or brand. These unauthorized, third-party apps can damage a company’s brand equity in a number of ways.

Copycat apps make it more difficult for consumers to find the legitimately branded apps. Consumer confusion can adversely impact legitimate sales and brand reputation. Consumers may also fall prey to nefarious app publishers who are seeking personal information that can be derived through copycat apps and the unsuspecting users who install them. Bad actors can exploit this information for their own personal gain by sending phishing emails under the company name, further damaging the company’s reputation and brand equity.

The Business Challenge:

The brand manager of a well-known financial company discovered that many apps had been developed and published that clearly infringed the company’s intellectual property. The company markets its financial products under nationally recognized brand names, and many third-party apps were using the same names and logos. The company uses mobile apps to disseminate general information as well as to promote its newest products and offers. The brand manager turned to AppDetex to help identify unauthorized apps and pursue enforcement and takedown action on the offending publishers.

The Appdetex Solution

  • AppDetex has an unparalleled database of global apps indexed from the major and third-party app stores, consistently updated to include the newest, most relevant data. Using AppDetex’s basic and more advanced search capabilities, the brand manager was able to quickly identify unauthorized uses of the company’s brand assets. The brand manager also relied on AppDetex’s Managed Services group to perform forensic analysis within the app itself.
  • The brand manager entered the identified third-party apps into AppDetex’s proprietary case management system. Using the AppDetex Enforcement Portal, the brand manager sent cease-and-desist letters and app store complaints to initiate the takedown of all identified offending apps.
  • The Enforcement Portal seamlessly tracked each communication, logging and storing the data in the AppDetex case management system for future use. The brand manager was able to monitor the progress of all app enforcement actions through notifications and by accessing real-time information in the case management dashboard.
  • The brand manager also created BrandTrack® reports for the company’s best known brands, which provided automated daily communications about any new use of the brand in the online app stores. This allowed the brand manager to uncover and address new brand infringement issues before they created costly problems for the company or consumers.

Gaming Company Pulls Plug on Copycat Apps and Lost Sales

Gaming Company Pulls Plug on Copycat Apps and Lost Sales

Background:

Mobile games are some of the most popular apps in app stores. The mobile gaming industry made over $70 billion in 2014, outselling PC and console games. This trend is reflected across the entertainment industry with the availability of mobile video, music, and image sharing. As mobile apps gain popularity, they attract rogue app developers, who exploit the logos and designs of legitimate apps to create a false association and increase downloads.

The Business Challenge:

The trademark counsel of a popular mobile app game company was contacted by a customer who was confused by the multiple mobile apps using the design marks of the game company. She knew that as the game company’s popularity and catalog of apps continued to grow, the likelihood of bad faith infringers trying to take advantage of her client’s intellectual property would grow. The customer expressed concern that there appeared to be third-party apps charging for each download and wanted to know which app was the authorized app for the game company. Counsel knew damage to the client’s reputation was best mitigated by getting these apps off the market as quickly as possible. She also realized that these similar apps were cutting into her client’s marketshare. The company values the goodwill it has earned by creating quality products and that consumer confusion and sales erosion increases with every new copycat app.

The AppDetex Solution

  • The trademark counsel used AppDetex’s targeted search and advanced search technology to uncover unauthorized use of the game company’s brand names in third-party apps. Using AppDetex’s proprietary search features, she found specific targeted information regarding each unauthorized app, including app publisher, app description, categories, screen shots, price, ratings, and other critical information. The trademark counsel also used the advanced image search capabilities of the AppDetex system to uncover all third-party images that were infringing on the company’s mark. Finally, she was able to use AppDetex to isolate the apps that are located in the customer’s jurisdiction for further review.
  • Once Trademark Counsel identified the rogue apps and added them to the case management system, she was able to rank them using a scoring algorithm set up specifically for the game company’s concerns. Ranking apps from critical to low priority allowed the trademark counsel to target the most egregious offenders first for enforcement action.
  • The trademark counsel then used AppDetex’s Enforcement Portal to begin takedown proceedings against rogue apps infringing on the game company’s trademarks. She also used AppDetex’s Managed Services team to issue cease-and-desist notices to the app developers.

Throwing the Book at Illegal Distributors of a Bestselling Novel

Throwing the Book at Illegal Distributors of a Bestselling Novel

Background:

Smartphone users spend roughly 80% of their device time using downloaded apps. Piracy of popular entertainment content on the Internet represents a significant revenue drain on the industry. In order to keep up with the demand for mobile entertainment media, the entertainment industry has created mobile friendly versions of their products, from games to movies to novels. Mobile media pirates, who are constantly devising new methods of skirting the law, produce simple free apps containing unlawful content, profiting by attaching monetized advertising to the app and costing the rightful publisher millions of dollars in diverted revenue.

The Business Challenge:

A best-selling novel published by a major publishing house had gained international acclaim as the author appeared on talk shows and was featured in “must read” lists. The brand manager for the publisher worried that a number of apps may have been offering illegal copies of the novel for download. The publisher had contracted its electronic distribution to e-book companies. An initial review of a single app store revealed several hundred apps offering free text versions of the novel. A conservative estimate of the value of the illegally distributed copies exceeded $800,000 per year–a significant loss of revenue.

The Appdetex Solution

  • AppDetex offers an unparalleled database of apps available on app stores from around the world, updated daily to include the newest, most relevant data. Using AppDetex’s proprietary search features, the brand manager identified numerous apps offering free text versions of the novel. AppDetex was also able to isolate the specific countries where the rogue apps were located.
  • The brand manager then entered the apps into AppDetex’s case management system. This proprietary online interface stored, tracked, and organized all enforcement communications during the takedown of the infringing apps, creating documentation for future in-house use or legal proceedings.
  • The Enforcement Portal allowed the brand manager to send cease-and-desist notices to the app developers, issue takedown complaints to the app stores, and track enforcement procedures online.
  • After performing an initial round of takedowns to prevent immediate loss of sales, the brand manager set up automated BrandTrack® reports for the popular novel to receive daily scans that would uncover new, infringing apps.

Franchisor Manages Brand Compliance of Franchisee Apps

Franchisor Manages Brand Compliance of Franchisee Apps

Background:

More than 60% of adult Americans own smartphones today. Of those who use their phones to access the Internet, a full third primarily use their mobile device–not their computer. Companies looking to market their products and increase brand awareness are increasingly encouraging app developers—whether from affiliates or third parties—to use their brands in independent apps targeted at discrete markets under a licensing agreement. Similar to brick-and-mortar brand use agreements, such licenses include specific terms that dictate the obligations of the licensees and define the appropriate use of the company’s intellectual property so that brand equity is not compromised

The Business Challenge:

A large franchisor has several hundred franchisees nationwide. For some time, the franchisor had allowed its franchisees to create apps that distribute information to their local customers and markets with little oversight. The policy counsel of the franchisor wanted to identify and create a monitoring strategy for all of the affiliate apps that had been published by its local franchisees in the app stores. The franchisor’s primary goal was to ensure that all the apps were abiding by the organization’s strict branding policies and guidelines. The policy counsel further desired to be immediately notified in the event of any changes to an app title, description or publisher information displayed in an app store.

The Appdetex Solution

  • The policy counsel, using AppDetex’s proprietary search, advanced search, and filtering and labeling technology, was able to quickly and seamlessly identify relevant apps owned by the franchisees and place them into a “White List” that can be monitored on a daily basis.
  • She was also able to monitor its affiliates’ authorized apps for any changes by adding those apps to a watch list. Anticipating that affiliates would create companion apps for certain upcoming events, the policy counsel monitored its app publishers using the PublisherWatch™ function to reveal when a publisher added or removed apps from the app stores.
  • The policy counsel eventually set up a Brand Track® report, which scans the app stores 24/7 to uncover any other apps that have been added using the company’s mark or name. The AppDetex online interface allows users to enter and track as many apps, publishers, and brands as necessary to secure the brand’s integrity.