Marques 2014: catching the ‘fat mice’


Brand owners should use data to help them target the worst “internet hucksters”, according to a speaker at the Marques annual conference in Copenhagen.

Jannik Skou, partner at brand protection company Thomsen Trampedach, compared catching infringers such as cybersquatters to a “cat v mouse” game.

“You can’t catch them all, but you can cut down the noise,” he said, telling brands to identify the worst cases—the “fat mice”—by analysing data.

His talk, entitled Internet hucksters v the brand police, was the first main session today (September 24), which is the opening day of the conference.

A record number of attendees—777—for a Marques conference are in Copenhagen, including representatives from companies such as Google and Nestlé.

Skou’s presentation had begun with an explanation that Thomsen Trampedach has analysed thousands of infringing sites affecting 25 luxury brands, including Ferrari and Prada.

The sites ranged from cybersquatted web addresses to venues for counterfeit goods, with Skou saying the sale of fake products is a “huge challenge” for brand owners.

Thomsen Trampedach then analysed brands’ responses to these sites. Skou highlighted the example of Swarovski, the jewellery company and top Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy complainant in 2013.

To decide whether such an aggressive enforcement approach works, Thomsen Trampedach assessed the behaviour of domain name registrants. It found that cybersquatters do not keep domains for very long, said Skou.

Scammers also crawl social media platform and blogs to market their sites by placing advertisements, he added.

Because catching all the infringers is impossible, brand owners should try to target the worst offenders and cut the rate of “active abuse”, Skou said.

Further discussion is needed, he added, to answer questions about the strength of regulatory tools, and the responsibilities of registrars and e-commerce platforms.

The Marques conference lasts until September 27.

Marques 2014; online brand protection; cybersquatting; Swarovski; brand abuse

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