The fight for brands: what will help to rid marketplaces of counterfeit


It is possible to reduce the amount of counterfeit goods on trading platforms with the help of two tools: technological solutions for authentication and protection of brands and competent legislative initiatives. Andrey Krichevsky, a member of the RSPP Board, Chairman of the RSPP Committee on Intellectual Property and Creative Industries, made such a thesis at the scientific and practical conference "Marketplaces without counterfeit: myth or reality?".

According to Andrey Krichevsky, the turnover of counterfeit goods in the world is growing and there is no data that would allow predicting the decline of this trend in the next decade. And the saddest thing is that often people are "happy to be deceived themselves." "Colleagues in Europe conducted a survey among young people from 14 to 35 years old. 37% of them have intentionally bought counterfeit goods at least once in the last 12 months. In India, the number of counterfeit goods increased by 24% over the year. In China, counterfeit makes up about 12.5% of the market."

In order to at least maintain the status quo and prevent an even greater increase in counterfeiting, it is necessary to actively use two tools. Firstly, to develop technological means of brand authentication and protection, and secondly, to lobby for public and legislative initiatives prepared with the participation of interested businesses.

Andrey Krichevsky noted that the largest marketplaces are actively investing in technologies that minimize the presence of fakes on the site. So, Amazon invested $ 900 million in such solutions in 2021, hiring 12,000 specialists in the field of machine learning. They have developed tools that allow them to successfully protect the site's customers, brands and partners. "The results are very good. 2,500,000 attempts to create fraudulent accounts were prevented. It is claimed that since then, not a single unit of the “left” product has been posted on the marketplace. Let's not be idealists, let's agree that the number of counterfeit goods has greatly decreased," Andrei Krichevsky said.

There are methods of combating counterfeiting, when a special code is applied to the products, which can be scanned and, in case of non-compliance, remove the goods from the site. But blockchain technology is more promising for authentication and brand protection. It is used by Coca-Cola and Unilever. "Blockchain solutions make it possible to identify all counterfeit goods, including those that can be withdrawn from the supply chain for subsequent sale on platforms, since all transactions are registered," the chairman of the RSPP Committee stressed.

Among the key players specializing in brand identification and protection. Andrey Krichevsky highlighted Swiss AlpVision SA, Austrian Authentic Vision and American Applied DNA Sciences. In Russia, according to him, there are not many systemic players in this field yet. "As an example, we can cite the product of the company "Online Patent" – an intelligent search designed to identify counterfeit goods by name, trademark infringement, taking into account the degree of similarity. The technology allows you to automatically identify infringing goods and inform the copyright holder so that he takes action," the expert said.

In Russia, the problem of counterfeit goods on marketplaces has worsened after parallel imports were legalized for some groups of goods. In the summer, this was discussed at the State Commission on Combating Illicit Trafficking and at a thematic round table in the State Duma. Indeed, manufacturers and importers have begun to complain more and more often that the sites are not fighting fakes vigorously enough.

Meanwhile, marketplaces are in constant search of new tools for detecting fakes. For example, Wildberries has turned to a digital arbitration mechanism that allows the copyright holder or consumer to easily request title documents for the presented goods. At Yandex Market, a special quality control service constantly monitors the assortment and conducts additional verification at the request of customers. There are also "sectoral deals" in the professional community in the manner of European memoranda, when major players jointly ensure that the rules are followed. Marketplaces exchange data about violators and block their access to the sites. A de facto register of "black sellers" is being created.

Alexander Vdovin, Director of the Department of State Policy in the Field of licensing, Control and Supervisory Activities, Accreditation and Self-Regulation of the Ministry of Economic Development, Dmitry Kuznetsov, member of the State Duma Committee on Culture, Sergey Shklyaev, Head of the Department of Trade Restrictions, Currency and Expert Control of the Federal Customs Service of Russia, Deputy Head of the Advertising Control Department, also took part in the discussion of these and other issues of countering counterfeit and unfair competition of the FAS of Russia Yana Sklyarova, Anton Gushchansky, Director for Control and Supervisory Activities of the CRPT, representatives of marketplaces, manufacturers, industry associations, etc.