According to the US Patent and Trademark Office, there were 16,000 new trademarks and 28,000 new products launched in the US only last year. Importantly there were also 2,200 cases of trademark infringement filed. It seems that every product category is fully proliferated with brands. Unfortunately, this also opens the door for trademark infringement and outright counterfeiting. Infringement and counterfeiting are prolific. And your brand has never before been more vulnerable. And this trend will only continue to grow.
Infringers are actively seeking to confuse your consumer into thinking that their product is your brand or that it comes from the same company. They leverage your most precious assets, the recognition and the trust that you have painstakingly established with your consumers. When infringing products are sold, they don't only steal your sale, they can destroy your brand’s most important attribute, it’s integrity.
And this threat is no longer applied to luxury goods, but literally every consumer product and service category. I have defended brands that range from cosmetics to hand tools, from toys to medical devices, from baby shampoo to cannabis brands. Literally no product is safe from this infestation.
For more than 35 years, I have owned and run one of the industry’s most accomplished brand identity strategy and design firm and consortiums. My team and I have developed brand names, logos and identities for more than 500 consumer product and service brands for some of the most recognized companies across virtually every consumer product category. Starting in the year 2000, one of my clients was threatened by an infringer. To defend the brand identity that my team and I had developed for my client, I was trained to become an expert witness in intellectual property infringement cases. I have since served more than 50 cases, warding off infringers and disarming “trademark trolls”.
One of the most important lessons that I have learned through both sides of my career is that building brand recognition and brand trust is THE most sales-effective initiative. Differentiating your product, justifying its cost and delivering on its experience is what builds, over time, consumer trust and true advocacy. You know this. You have invested both your every effort and a considerable amount of your money in building this trust. It is your most value-driving asset, and yet it can be easily stolen and then destroyed.
If you think building brand recognition and trust is expensive, please know that defending it can be even more so. Many of the clients that I serve who are seeking to stop infringers spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and often more than a year before their infringers are legally restrained. The problem is that other infringers can jump right back on the bandwagon and start the infringement all over again. It is specifically challenging to stop infringement and counterfeiters from outside of the US where US laws have little to no impact.
Moreover, if you think that defending your brand legally is expensive, please know that rebuilding trust after it has been betrayed can be even more so. I can affirm from brands that have been damaged by infringement that it often requires more than 2.5 times more investment and time to regain a disenfranchised customer than to capture them initially. The “once burned, twice shy” rule is well in effect here. In short, if a customer has a bad experience with an infringing brand and believes that it was your product that caused this experience, recapturing this customer’s trust is a long uphill battle.
I have been actively seeking a solution to this problem. And I believe I have found one.
Solo Sciences Inc. was created to effectively and efficiently combat infringers. First, solo* validates the companies who share solo*’s commitment to safe, effective and trustworthy products. solo* certifies that these products are authentic in their creation, manufacturing, packaging and marketing processes ensuring that all solo*-certified products are of the highest integrity. solo* sets the standard that earns consumer trust.
solo* then adds a proprietary seal to the packages or hang tags of these certified products. Consumers can scan this seal with their phones and learn more about the specific product, but also to validate its authenticity- ensuring that it comes from the original trusted source. Importantly, the solo* seal has unique technology that cannot be duplicated. Infringers and counterfeiters cannot replicate it. As solo* gains more and more consumer awareness, its unique, proprietary seal is fast becoming the most respected signals of brand trust.
solo* believes that every consumer product industry needs a respected leader to validate, verify, and certify the most trust worthy brands so that together we can thwart infringers once and for all , reassure existing consumers, and eliminate the barrier for new users. Only solo* can create this trust.
About the Author;
Rob Wallace - Brand Identity Strategist and Expert Witness on Trademark/ Trade Dress Infringement.