Q&A – Talisman: A smarter solution to online brand protection

BrandWrites talks to Helen Saunders, Head of Intelligence & Operations at INCOPRO, on the global fake goods market, the impact it has on lost sales and brand damage, and why Bird & Bird are using TALISMAN as their solution of choice to combat this growing concern for brands.

  • How extensive is the counterfeit goods market and what is the impact on brands?

In a 2016 OECD report it was revealed that the global fake goods market is worth over $450 billion in lost sales and brand damage. In Europe, a report from the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) in 2015 revealed that the apparel and accessories industries lose approximately €26.3 billion (roughly $27.7 billion) in revenue annually to counterfeiting.

Having evolved in offline marketplaces, most modern counterfeiting now takes place online, via websites, online marketplaces, social media and chat platforms. Search a luxury brand on various social media and a series of images promoting counterfeit products will come up. Sometimes a selfie will appear of a person holding a counterfeit product, together with a series of contact numbers for chat platforms for keen buyers. To make matters worse, the rise of 3D printing has opened up a whole new avenue for counterfeiters.

In the luxury sector, although a counterfeit sale is not necessarily a lost sale by the brand owner due to the price differential, it’s no secret that exclusivity sells. Consequently, when branded goods become accessible to everyone, those who frequent high-end stores will become less likely to associate themselves with that brand.

Of course, it’s not just luxury brands that are affected. The top five categories are: consumer electronics; apparel; computers; appliances; and foodstuffs.

  • Tell us about Talisman and the connection with Bird & Bird

Talisman is a fully comprehensive, innovative and intelligent online brand protection solution. Brands that use Talisman can track, prioritise, and enforce across all digital platforms. This includes marketplaces, domains/websites, social media, paid search, 3D printing and mobile apps. By joining up with Incopro, Bird & Bird’s team of IP lawyers are able to offer the Talisman technology as a further service to clients across the vast array of industries affected by online counterfeiting.

  • What makes Talisman different?

Talisman is uniquely well set up to combat the ‘whack-a-mole’ problem (as soon as online counterfeit is taken down, another quickly pops up in its place). The Talisman technology intelligently connects data across a combination of social media accounts, online marketplaces, web domains, and chat apps (such as WeChat). Talisman clusters all these channels together so that businesses can enforce brand protection at scale, focussing on the root causes.

In the case of one fashion brand, Talisman’s advanced clustering technology succeeded in connecting an online marketplace shop, a Facebook page promoting this shop, plus an app used to sell counterfeit products. Due to targeted enforcement efforts, all infringing stock was completely removed.

  • How could Talisman benefit Bird & Bird clients?

For Bird & Bird clients, the Talisman technology enables Bird & Bird to offer pioneering services that provide connected intelligence to direct different methods of enforcement. This strategic approach facilitates Bird & Bird’s clients to take more decisive and immediate action and supports them to implement their IP enforcement strategies cost effectively.

Talisman has also been tailored to meet the requirements of many online platforms and registrars, and this includes sending notices in the recipients’ local language. To bolster this function, Bird & Bird can work with Incopro’s team of multi-lingual analysts who work with brands, online platforms, and registrars to guarantee the robust takedown of infringing items. By choosing to offer its clients the Talisman technology, Bird & Bird is taking an active role in supporting its clients through best practice procedures across their client’s global IP strategy.

  • Do you have some examples of success?

Brands using Talisman have enjoyed many success stories. For example:

  • Improving the number of takedowns on Instagram from 100 posts to 250,000 a month for one client
  • For another client, achieving a 95% decrease of issues within four months on key platforms: iOffer, eBay and DHgate
  • 8 million counterfeit products removed from online platforms within four months for one client
  • For copyright focussed clients, success in achieving 99% compliance on social media and marketplaces
  • Success in implementing immediate takedown capabilities on various platforms due to the relationships built with those platforms

Originally published in BrandWrites 8th Edition, May 2017.