With a massive ~46% of the global population online (~70% by 2020), e-commerce and digital platforms have provided consumers with unprecedented choice and convenience [Anti-counterfeiting 2016, A Global Guide, World Trade Mark Review, pg25]. Though the internet has reduced information friction through the “power of a click”, it has also become a tool for counterfeiters in many industries. Current estimates are that $1.7 Trillion per annum is lost world-wide to counterfeiting and piracy.


The fashion industry isn’t immune from this counterfeiting menace. Over the last decade, the world of fashion has been radically transformed by technology and globalisation. Consumers are embracing the internet at an exponential rate.
An ambitious online retail strategy is key for the success of any brand. In the UK alone, ~74% of adults bought goods/ services online this year and almost half had bought clothing, with ~64% of 25-34 yr. olds buying clothes online.

Euromonitor: Global apparel and footwear market growing  5%,
but online channels are growing 3-4 times faster

Euromonitor Global apparel and footwear


Counterfeit seizures made at the European borders by product type (number of incidents), 2008

UNODC: The Globalization of Crime: A Transnational Organized Crime Threat Assessment (2010), p. 178

Latest available, % by value

Counterfeit seizures made

In the EU, ~ €26 billion and up to 363,000 jobs are lost every year due to counterfeiting of clothes, shoes and accessories. Sale of fake clothes, shoes and accessories in the EU equals nearly 10% of the total sales in the sector throughout the EU-28. The Internet has opened up a whole world of possibility for criminals to build a business on the back of a Brand’s goodwill – using e-commerce and social media platforms to sell counterfeits and setting up rogue look-a-like websites abusing trademarks. The current lead time between a brand’s womenswear show and the finished collection dropping on the shop floor is plenty of time for these unlawful businesses to copy, put into commercial production and market their counterfeit products.

  1. Anti-counterfeiting 2016, A Global Guide, World Trade Mark Review, Pg.:25

Fashion companies face a challenging landscape, often feeling overwhelmed by the scale of the problem and the complexity of enforcement when “traditional” litigation enforcement is no longer a viable option. Traditional services for monitoring infringements often result in a massive dump of data, making it difficult to identify the high-impact issues to act on. For example: A website that only appears in the bottom pages of Google search results is a minor problem compared to a website that is always in the first page of results, but too often brands are not given the information to enable them to prioritise. An Instagram account linked to wider fraud is of a greater concern than a one-off post promoting a single counterfeit product for sale.

Selling products globally, only adds to corporate legal/IP department’s enforcement woes – different laws world-wide and differing interpretations by platforms leads to uncertainty and confusion. With a plethora of social media platforms with massive memberships and the divide between platforms for sale and promotions blurring, it is hard to draw intelligent conclusions from separately “watching” marketplaces & social media platforms without analysing the cross-linkages. Counterfeiters are businesses themselves and smartly manoeuvre their social media strategies to avoid detection.

Click here to find out how our expertise has helped in getting social media platforms to change their policies

INCOPRO’s flagship product – TALISMAN protect copyrights, design rights and trademarks, globally, using its proprietary clustering technology that provides intelligent cross-platform insights about infringements, and ranks and prioritizes them for a “one-click” action for the IP rights holder.

TALISMAN can help detect and enforce on the following IP infringements:

  • right-arListings of counterfeit fashion products on major B2B
    and B2C online marketplaces.
  • right-arAbuse of design rights online.
  • right-arUsing social media (e.g. Instagram) to engage with customers and sell counterfeit fashion goods and attempting to bi-pass the difficulties of visibility of a domain or marketplace listing.
  • right-arAbuse of paid search to mislead customers by piggybacking on brands.
  • right-arUsing a domain name with a trademark or setting up rogue look-a-like websites to sell counterfeit products.

TALISMAN is supported by a multi-lingual team of expert analysts covering Mandarin, Cantonese, Arabic, Russian, Japanese, Hindi etc. These analysts are overseen by leading IP legal and law enforcement intelligence experts. This expertise enables them to identify abuse of design rights where no trademarks are infringed, leverage platform relationships and ensure swift resolution where infringements have been identified.

Click here for more information on TALISMAN

INCOPRO can enable your company to:

Develop a targeted approach to tackle commercial scale operators abusing your brand online
Ensure that your consumers retain their trust in your legitimate e-commerce platforms
Protect brand equity and reputation globally
Increase efficiency and efficacy of enforcement – through an end to end solution
Reduce costly out of system legal action
Target resources where needed
Optimize revenue and marketing investment

Contact INCOPRO to find out how we can help your company