News

Protect your Brand in the Middle East and North Africa through Cerberus Dubai 11 July 2013

If you are concerned about counterfeits in the Middle East or North Africa and need to protect your brand, email our Dubai office Dubai@cerberusip.com or call +971 430 507 43. We can help by offering quick and cost-effective IP investigations into counterfeit and infringement cases across the whole region.
In the past ten years, despite political and civil unrest in the region, the Middle East has become a hotspot for companies looking to expand their business and increase their sales. The region has been less affected by the global financial crisis in terms of consumer spending, and this is largely due to an infatuation with European and American brands and an obsession with shopping - a national pastime. Yet, with this fascination comes a great deal of risk in terms of counterfeiting, lookalikes and infringing products.
All across the region, local shops are full of the most famous brand names, often at unrealistically low prices. Counterfeit goods are everywhere. At the same time, the cost of filing a trademark in the Middle East is relatively high compared to other regions. To add to the cost, each nation of the region has different requirements, and the bureaucratic processes for each are long and tedious.
Despite the high costs and complicated processes, the filing of trademarks has risen steadily across the region in the last 20 years. The cumulative number in the United Arab Emirates was over 133,000, second only to Israel. Saudi Arabia came third with over 118,000 trademarks filed in the past 20 years. The top five countries registering trademarks in the region were Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The top categories were pharmaceuticals, electrical/scientific apparatus, advertising/business, cosmetics, and staple foods. In 2011, the United Arab Emirates was the number one country registering trademarks with over 25,000 in that year alone (Thomson Reuters, 2012). This is not surprising when considering the culture of consumerism, shopping-tourism, and the importance of brand-recognition among locals.
With increased brand recognition, trademark infringement is also on the rise. According to the Software Business Alliance, the share of worldwide software piracy is 79% for the Middle East. In addition, 30% of music sales in Saudi Arabia were pirated copies. Counterfeit pharmaceuticals are also prevalent in the region, not only posing a threat to profits, but also endangering the health of the consumers who purchase them. In Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, where shopping can be considered the national pastime, trademark infringement for luxury brand clothing and accessories runs rampant, and copies of the most famous brand-named products can be found in most of the local souks at greatly reduced prices. In short, protecting brands against counterfeiting and copyright infringement is a must for any business in the Middle Eastern market.

Online Brand Monitoring with BITE!! 8 June 2011

 

The Cerberus BITE  programme, which is our online monitoring and takedown service proved to be a popular topic during our recent trip to INTA. BITE stands for Brand Infringement Takedown Enterprise. It seems that both lawyers and brand owners are pleased to know that online counterfeiting and infringement issues can be tackled by undertaking this service.  This is certainly true for one of our clients who we have removed over 7,000 infringing listings for since August 2010. If we consider that number to be sales diverted away from the real deal, then that is worth approximately £2million in genuine goods! 
 
BITE is a fixed fee service undertaken by humans (and not machines or software) on a daily basis (including weekends). We provide you with a report at the end of the month which details everything that has been taken down, analysis and recommendations. If you would like further information about this service, a free snapshot of one of your brands, or have any questions then please contact us at info@cerberusip.com

 

 

Cerberus breaks 1000 barrier for covert domain name acquisitions 29 December 2010

As we approach the very end of 2010, we are very pleased to announce that we have recently completed our 1000th covert domain name purchase on behalf of brand owners and trademark attorneys. In doing so, Cerberus has ensured that each of the 1000 domains have been obtained for far lesser price than would have been possible had the client approached the domain name seller directly.

 

Over the last five years we have seen a huge growth in the need for businesses to acquire domain names covertly. We offer a cost–effective way of putting you back in touch with lost, compromised or stolen intellectual property, such as domain names, trademarks or company names. The service has been used for securing domains for new brand launches, especially when working towards a fixed deadline. We can also eliminate opposition to a new brand by acquiring a potentially conflicting or similar mark.

 

Using a variety of front companies, office addresses, email addresses and telephone numbers; Cerberus has ensured that the anonymity of our clients is upheld at all times. This consequently ensures that the negotiations for the domains are carried out in a controlled and cost effective manner, with timely updates being provided to the client at each stage of the negotiation process.

 

If you have a domain name which you would like to acquire or establish more details about its price and availability, please get in touch today.

 

 

 

Happy Birthday Cerberus!!! 25 February 2010

On the 23rd February 2010, Cerberus turned five years old!

By way of celebration, on the 19th January 2010 we organised a client screening of Erasing David and had a bash at Blacks private members club. 

Cerberus would like to thank all of our clients and suppliers who have instructed and supported us during the last five years. 

While we are celebrating five fantastic years of Cerberus, we are already looking to the future with a range of services for the coming year which will expand all areas of our business. A few things to look forward to:

• The MarkRevive Intellectual Property Acquisition service will be expanded and developed to give a range of new options for clients to manage obtaining a domain name or trademark which are already registered.

• Cerberus Turkey is also expanding and we will soon be covering all surrounding territories with Trademark In Use, covert domain name acquisitions and anti-counterfeiting support services. The office will also have its own website launching soon.

• Erasing David will hopefully be hitting television screens on Channel 4 by the end of the year.

Proving it's the real thing 15 April 2009

Portero,the new online auction site specialising in selling genuine luxury goods, is set to become the auction site to trust. Customer loyalty is a valuable asset for any business and running your business on this currency should prove to be pretty appealing for both consumers and the 180 brand owners currently listed.

Luxury goods work on the sensibility of the consumer and brands cannot afford to lose their desirability factor, which is threatened every time a counterfeit product hits the market.  On this note, Portero offers customers an something other auction sited do not; it offers a guarantee.

Will Portero grow to be a rival for the godfather of auction sites – eBay, or will proving each individual luxury product is genuine, become increasingly difficult, the larger Portero grows?   It may be too early to tell but at least Portero, with its verification of authenticity by both in – house and external specialists as well as its invite only auction site, making even the attempt to buy luxury goods, a well sort out privilege.

Internet infringements increase as credit crunch hits 7 November 2008

Official eBay monitoring agent, Cerberus, confirmed today that as the credit crunch bites, consumers are increasingly lured by the prospect of an online bargain. Cheap deals on lifestyle products are usually parallel or counterfeit goods, leaving consumers and the brand owners both out-of-pocket.

Sites like eBay, uBid, Overstock.com, alibaba.com and others are all popular outlets for traders in counterfeit and parallel goods. The value of this can be enormous; Apple lost around $400 million in 2007 in a matter of weeks when a million iPhones made their way onto the grey market through multiple sellers operating through these and other online auction sites.

Cameron Gowlett of Cerberus said of the phenomenon “We have more instructions from IP lawyers than ever before to track down the perpetrators and close down these sites. Most of this new business is driven from IP lawyers and their clients because of the massive damage this trade causes to their bottom line and reputations. Our cleansing actions can often be self funding as many of those caught end up paying compensation, especially the larger players”.

Cerberus is an official eBay monitoring agent and takes down infringing and illegal products instantly using the VeRO process. Once cleared Cerberus monitors brands daily (including Sundays!) to stamp out any recurrence of even spot-traders from as little as a few hundred pounds a month.

The colossal scale of this trade is such that Cameron said “Almost every brand owner may be helped in this way”.

For more information or to discuss instructing Cerberus, please call +44 (0) 870 351 2486, or email info@cerberusip.com.

eBay fined record amount in Europe 1 July 2008

A French court ruled yesterday that eBay would have to pay €40 million in damages to the luxury fashion group LVMH for allowing the sale of counterfeit goods, lipsticks and perfumes on the auction website.

The fine is the largest that eBay have faced in Europe, although the company has faced opposition from many large fashion and cosmetic brands. Last month a French court ordered eBay to pay €20,000 to Hermes following the sale of anti counterfeit handbags.

LVMH does not only dispute the sale of anti-counterfeit goods on the auction site, but also the sale of real items which the group claim violates their distribution network, which only allows the sale of such items to specialist authorised dealers. If eBay continues to sell and advertise these goods then they face a fine of €50,000 per day.

The decision of the court is being appealed by eBay.  An eBay spokeswoman stated that the "decision does not relate to the fight against counterfeiting.  It is about LVMH's wish to protect commenrcial practices that exclude all competition".

Since 2006, eBay has spent $20 million trying to stop the site becoming bombarded with counterfeit products, by working with brand owners and using programmes which can analyse suspicious sales.

At Cerberus we work with a number of brands who are facing similar problems on eBay. We have a registered VERO account which allows us to take down infringing items from eBay as and when they appear. We offer eBay monitoring services to our clients and if this is something you would be interested in learning more about then please contact us at Cameron@cerberusip.com

Operation Stormgrand nets record haul of fake Viagra 17 September 2007

The counterfeit trade in illicit medicines took a direct hit this month when five members of a criminal gang were found guilty at Kingston Crown Court in the biggest conspiracy of the supply of counterfeit medicines thus far in the UK. Between 2002 and 2005, large consignments of fake Viagra, Cialis and Propecia were shipped in industrial-scale quantities into the UK from foreign factories and the tablets were then repackaged and sold over the Internet to customers worldwide.

Over £1,500,000 of counterfeit medicines was confiscated. The products were almost identical to the real thing, with carefully forged packaging, logos and patient information leaflets. The medicines contained around 90% of the normal active ingredient found in the authentic tablets, but regulators said customers were put in danger because of other possible ingredients.

The operation involved investigators, Customs and Excise officers and was led by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). This government agency is responsible for ensuring that medicines and medical devices work, and are acceptably safe. They issue guidelines which explain the background to counterfeit medicine production and highlights how organised criminal gangs have become involved in the production of illegal medicines and are supplying them through the internet, often to unwitting patients.

Here at Cerberus we have worked in most industries that have issues with counterfeiters or infringers including footwear, fmcg, sportswear, pharmaceuticals, tobacco, confectionery, apparel, white goods, household goods, alcohol and spirits, perfumes and cosmetics, automotive, toys, watches, luxury goods, software and music.

If you require advice or a quote please visit our anti-counterfeiting page or call us to talk to one of our expert team.

For the full story from the MHRA website please click here.

eBay plays major role in counterfeit market 30 August 2007

A recent report Counterfeiting Luxury: Exposing the Myths 2007 commissioned by London law firm Davenport Lyons has concluded that buying counterfeit goods has become socially acceptable, with more than two thirds of UK consumers proud to tell their friends and family that they had purchased fakes. This is an increase of 20% on the previous figures from 2006.

In addition, consumers spent 10% more on faked designer and luxury brands than in the previous year, bringing the average spend to £21.30 per person.

More than 10% of those questioned said they had paid over £50 for a fake, continuing the trend identified in last year’s report of many of these consumers being well-off: 20% of them come from households earning over £50,000 p.a.

The majority of these counterfeit items were bought in markets in the UK, and the amount of goods bought abroad or on the Internet also increased. In particular, eBay was highlighted for being the source of 29% of this market, putting it third in the overall table of fake goods suppliers. eBay purchases were also twice as likely to have been bought in good faith by the shopper as those from other sources.

This report shows that the growing social acceptability of buying fake goods is creating a crisis for brands which will affect company profits as well as exclusivity. Clearly there has never been a greater need for effective brand protection. Here at Cerberus we can offer services such as anti-counterfeiting and parallel trade identification, as well as our specialist Brand Infringement Takedowns team for online infringements.

Please visit out Intellectual Property section for more details.

The full report can be obtained from the Davenport Lyons website or directly from this link.