Current Trends Observed Online

An alarming wholesale shift has been observed from brick and mortar retailers with hundreds or thousands of counterfeit items on hand at any given time to an internet-based counterfeiting economy where inventory is intentionally kept at low levels to minimize losses. There are two types of internet-based infringers that are typically observed. One type of infringer utilizes websites that host classified advertisements, specifically eBay, Craigslist, Kijiji, and others of a similar nature. There is often no charge for the vendor to advertise on these types of sites, making it a very attractive option for counterfeiters.

Hallmark has a wealth of experience in handling cases that involve all types of internet-based counterfeiting activities. We regularly monitor, investigate, and ultimately conduct enforcement operations pertaining to websites that host classified advertisements. We can prepare a report that a brand owner can use to request the take down of any infringing advertisement. We have also achieved excellent results for brand owners when implementing in-depth investigation and enforcement strategies relating to the individuals or businesses responsible for the postings. We are usually able to link a classified advertisement to the person who posted it.

The other internet-based infringer sells counterfeit goods from a website that is registered using an address in Canada. Placing an order is as simple as visiting the site, clicking on the item one wishes to purchase, entering payment information, and awaiting delivery. These types of sites usually operate in a manner called 'drop-shipping'. A Canadian website that uses the drop-shipping method typically has no inventory, and simply refers the customer's order to a factory in Asia, where the factory will send the merchandise to the customer directly.

Our investigators have received training from leading internet security experts that has given us the tools required to track the owners of websites to a physical address. We regularly conduct enforcement operations in this manner as well as provide the brand owner with an information package that they can use to lobby the Internet Service Provider to remove the infringing website from their server.