London, United Kingdom, June 06, 2009 --(PR.com
)-- Businesses must not be distracted from brand protection efforts in the economic downturn an international trade association has urged.
According to a recent survey carried out by intellectual property firm Marks & Clerk* as many as 80 per cent of managers are ‘too busy’ to spend more time on brand protection or only get involved once a counterfeiting or competitive threat has emerged. Just a fifth are spending more time on brand protection.
Against this backdrop, the International Authentication Association (IAA), a global organisation set up to lead the fight against counterfeits, has stressed the need for brand and product owners to have a comprehensive and constant anti-counterfeiting strategy in place. It warns against a reduction in time and investment on brand protection.
The results come at a time when the need for brand and product protection has never been greater with the threat of counterfeiting and piracy spiralling. The latest report by the Organisation of Economic Development (OECD) estimates that the global counterfeiting market has topped $200 billion, while the Counterfeiting and Intelligence Bureau (CIB) predicts fake goods will make up to 7 per cent of world trade.
Chair of the IAA, David Howard, explains: “There’s no doubt that budgets are under threat in the current climate but not protecting your brand correctly is not an option.
“Counterfeiters need little excuse at the best of times and economic hardship is likely to be a recipe for increased criminality. If companies are cutting back on their anti-counterfeiting efforts, the market will be more attractive for fakes.”
While companies will inevitably be taking a hard look at their costs, combating counterfeits is proven to be an effective way to maintain turnover and market share.
Howard added: “The costs of protecting your products are low compared to the problems and financial headaches that counterfeiting and infringement will bring a business further down the line. Authentication technologies should be a key component of this.”
The IAA comprises 20 of the world’s leading brand owners and suppliers of authentication technologies. Among its prominent voices are flagship brands Johnson & Johnson, Honeywell, 3M Brand and Asset Protection, Authentix, Dupont Authentication and Hologram Industries to name a few.
The organisation’s raison d’etre is to promote the use of authentication technologies as an integral part of an effective anti-counterfeiting strategy, protecting products, documents and their users from counterfeiting and fraud. Education is a key element of this agenda, with the IAA playing a prominent role in educating government agencies, inter-government organisations and brand owners about the roles and uses of authentication.
Howard, who is also director of product protection at Johnson & Johnson, explains: “While counterfeiting and piracy are age old problems, the globalisation of world trade has seen an exponential increase in the scale and effects in recent years. Increased trade, new technologies and ‘grey’ markets, particularly the internet, have intensified already acute problems.
“The scale of the threat, and the damage that can be caused, means there’s a compelling need for today’s brand owners to protect their products. Governments too need to ensure the validity of key documents including currency, passports and identity cards.
“The International Authentication Association is an important voice for the authentication community. It will promote and explain the uses of authentication in a climate when the potential to benefit from these technologies has never been greater.”