How to protect brands in the Chinese digital market

Tutela del marchio in Cina
30 Jul 2018
Within a legislative framework that is still under development, Tencent offers state-of-the-art technology to protect brands from infringements and counterfeits.

In the market dominated by the tumultuous growth of e-commerce and globalisation, it is more important than ever for companies to protect their brands from illicit use and unfair activities.

There are different strategies that may be adopted. Trademark registration, for example, guarantees legal protection even in the offline world. Monitoring of online activities, on the other hand, involves the company directly and indirectly.

Many brands are well acquainted with this kind of activity in the markets where they are already present, but they find themselves in difficulty when they open their business to China.

One of the biggest difficulties for brands starting out in this market is the understanding of how the rules of brand protection work. Unlike the rest of the world, where a system governed by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is used, in China it is up to the CTMO to manage the complex procedure.

Because of the extreme speed with which China has developed economically, the legal framework of brand protection is still in the growth and improvement stage.

WeChat Brand Protection Platform

In this regard, Tencent, the fourth internet company in the world, has proposed a solution, in 2016 launching the Brand Protection Platform, on its digital platform WeChat. The proprietary platform offers brands the opportunity to register to counter the sale of counterfeit goods and the disclosure of false information and to assert the rights of companies.

The new tool is based on a multi-win mechanism composed of 3 phases, which starts when users report illicit content. The notification is forwarded to the owners of the trademark, which will analyse any infringements and notify any infringements found to WeChat. Once the report has been taken care of, WeChat will act by removing the illicit content and will inform both the user and the brand.

In addition to user reports, Tencent guarantees the protection of the brand using the keyword database, which contains more than 22,000 keywords related to registered trademarks. The latest report shows that on average 3,100 accounts make improper use of brand names on a daily basis: the categories that receive the most reports are those of accessories (bags and watches), footwear and clothing.

In China, awareness of the problem and the initiative are therefore fundamental in protecting the online brand and countering the counterfeiting market and other brand infringements. The Tencent Brand Protection Platform can be a highly reliability component in the digital strategy pursued.