The Negg® launched in 2016 and our business took off like a rocket. Within months, we were a million-dollar company being featured in media outlets across the country. The sudden success felt like a dream. Every day we would listen for the constant ‘cha-ching’ from our phones, which meant another online sale of our handy product. It was an extraordinarily exciting time – until those orders came to a screeching halt.
Overnight, our product was knocked off.
One of these is the real Negg®, one is not - can you tell the difference?
As we searched online, we found fakes being sold on every major third-party platform. The counterfeiters used our pictures, our videos and cut our price in half. Our patent was useless without a court order. We had no choice but to hire a law firm that would work with us on contingency. To date, we have won $175 million in online counterfeiting judgements and injunctive relief for the Negg®. Don't get too excited - It's mostly not collectable, and what is collectable doesn't cover what we lost in sales.
We know firsthand the anger and frustration that comes with dealing with counterfeits. If you are in the process of launching a new product, it is crucial to be aware of the dangers of online counterfeiters.
Below are 6 tips to protect your product:
- Obtain a trademark and patent. Display your trademark and patent number. Counterfeiters will be reluctant to use your trademark because it is easily litigated, and something you can quickly have a third-party seller verify and remove.
- Set up lawyers on contingency right away. Since part of the game is keeping counterfeiters away, you want to be prepared.
- Allocate time every day to search for counterfeiters. Get them down as fast as you can and don’t let this discourage you.
- Order the product that is a counterfeit to make sure it is a fake. Jurisdictions require proof that the false product was delivered to a local address.
- Wholesale suppliers may have your counterfeit products, so you want to check these sites to remove them.
- Add something to your product that would distinguish it from counterfeits. For instance, a business name, or brand trademark that will help to identify it as authentic.
- Don’t be afraid of selling your product on third-party platforms. Some entrepreneurs choose not to sell on these sites because they know they will be at risk of being copied. These platforms are our life’s blood, so we recommend not closing them out. No matter where you sell your product, you open the possibility that a counterfeiter will make a cheap reproduction.
- Stay in control. Monitor the sellers on third-party sites and keep legitimate online sellers at a minimum. Have them sign a minimum advertised price (MAP) agreement. Choose a couple of hard-working vendors who have good references and will support your product with advertising and promotions.