June 9, 2016

Industry and Advertising Unite to Fight IP Theft Online

Consumers today have more choices than ever in where and what they purchase. From luxury brands to electronic devices to health and beauty products, anyone looking for a deal can shop online or at the local mall or at the big box discount stores.

For those who choose to shop online, there are many benefits—convenience, access to a wide-array of sites selling virtually every type of product, and the ability to “price shop,” just to name a few.  Often, consumers choose sites that display advertisements from companies they know and trust.  However, consumers can sometimes be misled by sites that advertise products at too-good-to-be-true prices on sites that sell counterfeit fakes. These sites trick the consumer into thinking they are making a legitimate purchase and often do little to protect their personal and financial information.

When consumers get burned by purchasing a counterfeit product online, they are not the only ones getting a raw deal.  The reputation of the brand that produced the item also takes a beating and may discourage customers from buying from that company in the future.  That is one reason why today’s announcement by the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) is such welcome news. The world’s leading ad agencies and dozens of major brands have banded together to take aggressive anti-piracy steps to protect consumers and brand owners doing business online.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports industry driven initiatives, such as TAG, that benefit both consumers and businesses.  The TAG initiative requires companies to take a pledge to commit to commercially reasonable steps to minimize the inadvertent placement of digital advertising or other media properties on bogus sites.  TAG’s “Certified Against Piracy” program helps direct companies to TAG-validated companies and ad agencies that carry the TAG “Certified Against Piracy Seal.”

With more and more ad agencies taking the TAG pledge, it makes sense for more companies to consider joining this important movement as well.  We encourage all brand owners to follow the example of Bayer, Google, GoDaddy, The Walt Disney Company, Johnson & Johnson, and many other well-known brands, and take the pledge.  By joining this voluntary industry initiative, brand owners will be helping not only themselves but also the customers they serve.

For more details on this program or to sign up to take the TAG pledge, please visit www.tagtoday.net.

Frank Cullen is executive director of U.S. intellectual property (IP) policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center.

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