Counterfeiting & IP Theft: Are you protecting your brand?

The world of counterfeiting and intellectual property theft is ever-evolving and advancing. To provide our members with important insights and preventive measures, we teamed up with OIA member SnapDragon Monitoring and intellectual property law firm UDL to deliver an all-important forum on the 22nd October 2019 at the Royal Geographical Society, London.

The presentations covered all aspects of intellectual property rights and infringements including trademarks, design rights and copyrighting so counterfeiting of physical products, as well as other forms of IP theft, was discussed.

Both presentations were recorded and are are available to view, with downloadable PDF versions of the slides further down this page.

Due to the range and depth of the topics discussed, the forum appealed not just to manufacturers, retailers and distributors but also all manner of service providers, charities and non-profits.

OIA forums are fantastic events to interact and network with colleagues from across the outdoor sectors while gaining key insights on topics that directly effects UK and European business and the economy.

Current State of Affairs

Counterfeiting is a global problem that’s threatening nearly every consumer product across every category and it’s on the rise. Counterfeits, typically manufactured in Asia (China and Hong Kong accounting for 84% of all fake good production), are growing at an incredible 15% per year.

The EU office for Intellectual Property (EUIPO) states, ‘the world-wide volume of trade in counterfeit goods is estimated at $509 billion, amounting to 3.3% of world trade (up from 2.5% of world trade in 2013)’.

Closer to home, EUIPO states that the imports of counterfeits into the EU from the rest of the world are now estimated at €121 billion, or 6.8% of total EU imports.

Traditionally, this has been an issue that has impacted other sectors such as the fashion and sports markets.

However, with participation in outdoor sports growing and its clothing becoming more popular on the high street, we are seeing more and more counterfeit products. And it’s not just clothing and accessories, we are seeing counterfeits of safety equipment and digital products too.

Economic loss per industry sector in million Euros, based on EUIPO figures (EUIPO, 2019).

Several sources also report:

  • The manufacture of counterfeit clothes and accessories takes out €26 billion from the European fashion industry every year (EUIPO, 2019).
  • A EUIPO report estimates that counterfeits in the fashion sector account for about 10% of the total sales (EUIPO, 2019).
  • While counterfeits can impact a brands revenue and reputation, for their consumers the impacts can be significantly more severe, often putting their health and safety at risk (EUIPO, 2016).
  • A staggering 6.8% of non-EU imports into the European Union are fakes and infringements. In 2016, over of half of seized fake goods were found in Germany, Italy, Switzerland and France (Financial Times, 2019).
  • The most recent Global Brand Counterfeiting Report stated that the current global value of counterfeits was more than $1.2trn, with predictions suggesting it would pass $1.82trn by the start of 2020 (iNews, 2018).
  • In the UK, it has been recorded that due to a rise in counterfeits in 2013, approximately £4bn of tax revenue was lost and over 60,000 jobs (iNews, 2018).
  • Of all social media transactions recorded in the UK in 2017, 17.5% of them were counterfeits. A shocking, 88% of these transactions were from consumers who knowingly purchased an infringing product (IPO, 2017).


Alison Cole

Alison Cole – Senior Trademark Attorney, UDL

Alison has over 20 years’ experience in representing local, national and international clients in all aspects of trademark law and practice.

Alison’s particular areas of expertise include handling domain name disputes and obtaining protection for unusual and/or unconventional trademarks, particularly in the area of artisan food and drink products.

She acts for clients across a range of sectors including wearable technology, children’s products, insurance, perfumery and online platforms.

Alison was an Examiner for IPREG for over ten years in respect of EUTM and International law, and has consequently been awarded the prestigious title of Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys.

Alison’s presentation focused on the different types of IP, how to identify and protect various intellectual property rights. She gave a brief outline of what, when, where and how to protect your creativity, followed by an outline of online threats and what the best practice is for monitoring and enforcing your rights.

Jet Doran – Director of Engagement, SnapDragon Monitoring

As Director of Engagement, Jet has built an award-winning Brand Protection team. Her background in criminology, passion for intellectual property and wealth of experience have helped brands around the world protect their IP online, from the smaller SMEs to global household names.

Jet’s particular expertise is her tenacity in working with a multitude of online platforms, understanding the nuances of varying takedown notices and the creativity of infringers in trying to avoid detection.

She has built strong working relationships with all the key platforms, enabling appropriate and cost-effective strategies to be built and enforced for brands.

During her presentation, Jet established how to identify and protect your various intellectual property rights, but from an online brand protection perspective. This highlighted the importance of maintaining a healthy IP portfolio and discuss how to best exploit these important rights.

She also presented alternatives to IP in protecting your work, such as including secret ingredients within your products and signing NDAs, and suggest what actions to take if you do discover you are being infringed.

Jet Doran

Presentation Video

Presentation Slides

Click the images to view and download.

Referenced Sources & Further Reading

EUIPO (2019) Illicit Trade: Trends in Trade in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods 2019. Available at:

EUIPO (2019) Intellectual Property Crime Threat Assessment 2019. Available at:

EUIPO (2019) 2019 Status Report on IPR Infringement. Available at:

Financial Times (2019) Trade in counterfeit goods on the rise, OECD report shows. Available at:

IPO (2017) Share and Share Alike: The Challenges from Social Media for Intellectual Property Rights. Available at:

iNews (2018) How Border Force officers protect shoppers by stopping fake goods reaching the high street. Available at:

OECD (2019) Trade in fake goods is now 3.3% of world trade and rising. Available at:

UDL (2019) Six steps your business should take to protect its brands. Available at:

UDL (2018) What makes a ‘good’ trade mark? Available at:

UDL (2018) A simple guide to marking your IP rights. Available at:

UDL (2018) Should I trade mark my business name? Available at:

UDL (2018) The patent process — making the most of your window of opportunity. Available at: