Is It Harder to Protect Intellectual Property in the Digital Age?

In recent years, a common echo heard among legal professionals is that it is more difficult to protect intellectual property in the digital age. Danae Vara Borrell recently explored this very idea in a piece for Forbes.

Over the past few decades, rapid advances in technology have reduced the amount of time necessary to take a product to market. This coupled with the rise of e-commerce and its power to open more brands to new markets has expanded opportunities for creators to design, develop, advance, and sell products like never before. The downside to this expanded opportunity, as Borrell points out, is that all this technology also makes it harder for a brand to protect itself from counterfeiters and copycats.

Intellectual property is typically threatened in 3 areas:

  1. Black Market Goods: Black market goods are direct counterfeits, replicas, and other abuses of a brand’s IP. These so-called “fake” products can span a wide variety of items in a wide variety of price ranges.
  2. Grey Market Goods: Sometimes referred to as “parallel imports,” grey market goods are legitimate items which enter a country from a source other than a designated importer. These products create confusion among consumers and cause regulatory issues for brands, which may experience their IP losing value as a result.
  3. White Market Goods: White market goods are sold through legitimate retailers, but often fluctuate in price. This too can water down a brand’s prestige, as consumers may abandon a business’s established IP for cheaper products.

To combat the sheer number of copycats that have become a fact of life in the digital age, more brands are attempting to simplify the IP protection process by using technology such as Artificial Intelligence to identify possible theft. Yet even the strongest AI is not effective unless it can detect a range of copycats, including black, grey, and white market goods, Borrell argues.

She also suggests that to mitigate the minefield that is managing IP in the digital age it is important to be register names, logos, and trademarks, including domain variations which can easily be ripped off online and in multiple countries. “In today’s digital age where counterfeits travel at the speed of light, trademark should also ideally include regions with higher rates of counterfeit issues,” writes Borrell. Although securing this many patents may be costly, this can help control your business’s brand both online and offline. You may also want to share nondisclosure agreements with any other businesses before beginning a partnership, as joint ventures where NDAs are not discussed can put a brand at risk.

Protect Your IP, Hire an Attorney Today

Perhaps the most important precaution one can take to protect their intellectual property is to hire a trusted attorney. At MR Civil Justice, our Dallas intellectual property lawyers have the skills and experience necessary to defend your brand. We have seen firsthand how business litigation has become increasingly complex in the age of the Internet, which is why we offer forward-thinking solutions and tech-savvy legal services to stay on the cutting edge of our profession. For a law firm that understands the changing nature of the digital landscape, hire MR Civil Justice to represent your business.

To speak to an attorney, call (214) 307-8387, or contact us online for a free consultation. We are available for our clients anytime, day or night.