10 Jun 2013
Ever since much of the manufacturing for the Western retail market was outsourced to various countries scattered around the globe, the protection of intellectual property rights has been an uphill battle. This difficulty applies to all sorts of manufacturing sectors, from electronics to children’s toys, and has been frustrating companies who spend the money to officially license intellectual property and branding rights from movies, video games and other media, which has an obvious damping effect on the sales of the respective sector.
Officially licensed retailers are beginning to win the battle, however, using a variety of strategies to fight counterfeit merchandise: heavily branded marketing campaigns, products co-branded to sell together, and pricing models that remain competitive with the counterfeiters. Competitive pricing can often be the trickiest to implement, as many counterfeits are produced with extremely shoddy sub-standard parts that can be purchased on the cheap by manufacturers. The officially licensed retailers, often small startup companies which lack the infrastructure found in more mature companies, must get creative when it comes to managing their pricing structures, but a careful competition monitoring solution can help them get the upper hand against the counterfeit competitors.
Another of their tactics which has proved extremely successful is forging business partnerships with more established retailers who already have shipping and sales infrastructure deployed. Typically, counterfeiters are able to operate most effectively in markets that have yet to be tapped by the official products, and consumers will purchase the legitimate brand name products if given the chance. This especially holds true when it comes to high grade consumer electronics such as the iPhone and other smartphones, which some of the less scrupulous Chinese and Taiwanese manufacturing companies have become well-versed at duplicating. The counterfeiting of these devices reached such an extreme level that one popular US gadget site, EnGadget, began posting a regular column entitled ‘Keeping It Real Fake’, entirely devoted to the analysis of the imposters.
The successful delivery of officially licensed merchandise has created a huge decline in the counterfeit industry over the last few years, but retailers expect the battle will continue until governments across manufacturing nations begin to get serious about intellectual property violations.