‘Tis the season to start holiday shopping. For many, that means it is time to start looking for presents for friends and family. In many cases, that includes a trip online to look for good deals on golfing equipment. Unfortunately, while that club for Uncle Rico might look like a screaming deal, what you order (and pay for) and what they ultimately get can potentially be two very, very different things.Keeping your consumers safe and protected from counterfeit products not only protects your bottom line, but helps to ensure consumer loyalty; they’re always guaranteed to end up with a high-quality authentic product.
As a golf products provider, don’t let counterfeit products tee you off! Here is our list of 6 actionable steps you can take as a vendor this holiday season to ensure your customers purchase the real deal.¹
1. Make sure your products are properly protected by trademarks and copyrights: Having your items registered helps make it easier to stop incoming counterfeits at the border. Registering your trademarks with the federal government allows you to enforce those trademarks anywhere within the borders of the United States. This also allows you access to federal courts should you decide to take legal actions against a counterfeiter. Make sure you also register those trademarks with officials in the countries you do business with, both manufacturing and sales. Having those foreign trademarks in place not only provides you with legal rights and protections but may also help prevent the exportation and importation of counterfeit products that include your trademarks.
2. Invest in a robust and proactive brand protection strategy: Registering your trademarks and copyrights is the first step to ensure you have a solid brand protection strategy. The second half of the brand protection strategy includes vigilance in monitoring those trademarks and copyrights and taking swift and decisive action when you find any infringement or unauthorized use. Taking immediate action when enforcing your trademark is critical in protecting your IP. Delays in enforcement and litigation can potentially hurt your ability to seek injunctive relief.
3. Set up a reliable online ‘direct from the manufacturer website’ your consumers can purchase from: Having a branded and dedicated website consumers can purchase your products from is the easiest way to guarantee that shoppers will have easy access to your authentic product. You may also consider monitoring the internet for any unauthorized uses of your brand or product name(s) to ensure unscrupulous individuals aren’t attempting to funnel potential customers by utilizing brand confusion tactics.
4. Partner with authorized 2nd party resellers and vendors and make that list easily accessible to your customers: If you’re interested in selling your products through other websites and retailers, it’s a smart idea to make sure the list of authorized resellers is easily accessible by your customers. Identify the authorized vendors that are selling your items and if a seller is not on your “approved” list, there’s a good chance the item the is not authentic.
5. Clearly advertise your MAP: MAP, or Minimum Advertised Pricing, is the lowest price for which an authentic version of your product should be advertised. Setting minimum advertised prices and retaining vendors that stick to that pricing is an easy way to identify “too good to be true” prices. Let consumers know that if they find one of your products advertised below your MAP, they should be aware that it’s likely not an authentic product and avoid purchasing it.
6. Keep your consumers educated: Having consumers who are educated about your brand is a vital part of any robust brand protection strategy. Be sure to educate them about the risks associated with purchasing counterfeit products and make it easy for them to report suspected counterfeits and unauthorized vendors.
Concerned about how your products are showing up online and who is using your IP? Schedule a complimentary Digital Risk Assessment and our team of brand protection specialists will prepare a report showing you exactly how and where your products are showing up online.
¹This blog post provides generalized information and does not constitute legal advice or an attorney-client communication. Each situation is unique and requires consultation with suitable professionals.