What are Enforcement actions ? When are they performed ?
Enforcement action are anti-counterfeiting activities performed by Indian government to ensure compliance by taking, when warranted, civil or criminal action against violators of IPR/Trademark/Brand infringement laws.
Why should I as a brand manager care about enforcement actions?
According to a recent year’s report the value of the global impact of counterfeit goods on illicit trade is estimated to be US$4.3 trillion per year and still growing. That is US$4.3 trillion of lost revenue for brand owners, authorised manufacturers, distributors and retailers of genuine goods. Companies whose products represent health and safety risks without proper anti-counterfeiting controls have especially higher risks on customer loyalty and brand reputation. Performing enforcement activities help the rightful owner to reduce the damage caused by counterfeit products and capital spent on anti-counterfeiting strategies.
Type of Enforcement action I can opt ?
Indian judiciary courts expressly provides statutory remedies of a civil and criminal actions against any entity performing unlawful practices involving trademark Infringement/IPR of an registered brand. Criminal remedies are provided under the Trademarks Act, the Copyright Act, the Geographical Indications Act and the IT Act governed under the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 . Under these laws, offences are cognisable in nature, which means that the police can take action and conduct search and seizure without a court warrant. The procedure for civil cases is governed by the Code of Civil Procedure 1908 and Indian courts are well versed in the IP laws and even grant ex parte injunctions at the admission of lawsuit, especially where counterfeiting is involved. In addition to an ad interim injunction order, rights holders can obtain Anton Piller or John Doe orders as interim reliefs in civil actions.
How to perform Enforcement actions?
Before performing enforcement activities the rightful owner has to register his/her brand under Indian trademark act. Subsequently the rightful owner can choose to take either an civil or criminal action against the counterfeiter after consulting his/her lawyer who would help him/her with further process. There are enforcement agencies working towards anti-counterfeiting in India to help the rightful owner, to name a few; Health department/DGCI, Foods and Drugs Administration(FDA), Trade monitoring bodies/CII/FICCI and Police force who provide assistance while dealing with counterfeiting matters and act on such complaints.
The after effects of brand performing enforcement actions?
The effectiveness of performing enforcement actions against counterfeiters would lead the rightful owner to retain his customer base, reducing damage caused by counterfeiters leading towards increased revenue. Stating this, we would also tell you that even if the rightful owner eliminates one or more counterfeiter(s) from the chain, the gap would be filled within no time with counterfeiters adapting smarter approaches. So instead of handpicking we have to adapt a proactive method to make it unsustainable for the counterfeiter to even enter.