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Making the most of your design rights and trademarks

In this blog, Mary Kernohan, Head of Business Development at SnapDragon, goes into detail about how to make the most of your design rights and trademarks.

Shockingly, online counterfeit retail sales have grown at an annual rate of 25% since the rise of e-commerce, meaning that the volume of fake goods sold online will soon surpass those sold by physical vendors.

Sadly, the toy and nursery market as well as the home and giftware industry are two of the most highly targeted by counterfeiters. “Must-have” items flood the market at key times of year, such as Christmas, offering a price that just undercuts the original – so it looks like a bargain.

One way to protect your brand from counterfeits is with trademarks and design rights. It is vital to file trademarks that are valid in the countries where you plan to sell – and make – your product, preferably before any information about it appears online.

The First Steps…

Most trademark attorneys offer a very cost-effective service around trademark registration and it’s even possible to file your own, if you know what you’re doing. Registered trademarks are your first line of defence when you’ve been copied online – in that they are accepted as a registered intellectual property right by the online marketplaces which means if you can prove the trademark is registered, and yours, a counterfeit product (using your trademark) should be removed.

Trademarks come highly recommended as being amongst the most cost-effective pieces of registered intellectual property available. You may also be able to file Design Rights for your product. These protect the shape and configuration of a product – not the function – but again can be extremely valuable in proving ownership of a concept.

Make sure to keep an eye out for our upcoming blogs to keep one step ahead of the fraudsters – you can get our blog updates straight to your inbox by signing up on the top right of this page.

Our ‘Top Tips’ to Protect Your Brand Online

In the meantime, you can use our helpful checklist of Top Tips to protect your brand online. And, if you’re in doubt, or worried, please get in touch with us today to find out how we can help:

  1. Register your trademark in as many territories as possible – and definitely in China.
  2. Register products and trademarks with the EUIPO enforcement database and its equivalent elsewhere.

(This is a free service and helps protect your brands at ports of entry.)

  1. Translate your brand – into as many direct and slightly indirect variants as possible and search regularly for these on online platforms.

Report sellers for infringing activity and get listings removed.

  1. If you find counterfeits, buy a sample and get to know it so you can tell the difference and teach others – including customs – how to do so too.

Be super aware in terms of customer safety.

  1. Don’t get too distracted from your day to day business.

You can win – and with persistence, you will!

  1. Don’t forget we have been there, done it and got the (genuine) T-shirt.  We are here to help.


If you believe your product listing has been wrongly removed, do let us know:

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