Of Cash, Counterfeits and Technology
Enforcement Challenges in the Age of COVID-19
Without waxing on too much with a certain amount of nostalgia, I remember the late 1990s when we first started enforcing against online sellers. Addressing the issue was simple and fairly straight forward. Little did we know what awaited us.
As number of platforms grew, technology advanced, mobile platforms mushroomed, counterfeiters developed the uncanny knack of exploiting nascent technology to best serve their illegal wants and desires. With no road map and strategies instituted on the fly, the enforcement battle lines were drawn and the battle joined.
What still amazes me is the willingness of counterfeiters to continue to sell in the darkest of times. Without even taking in the account the those who lack a moral compass and would sell counterfeit PPE and pharmaceuticals to desperate people around the world, let’s talk about the close in sellers providing goods through sites that encourage local connections and in person exchanges.
While conducting online enforcement on behalf of our clients, we have noticed that sellers now tend to post more during the weekend than in the past (real work takes precedence). Sellers are now more prevalent on these platforms in the western half of the country. In reviewing images, sellers appear to be enjoying the outdoors without significant social distance. However, they will not sell in person. Many have shifted to mailing product (even locally) with tracking numbers and securing payment through a variety of person to person payment options; again using technology to enhance their efforts.
As the discussion turns to the post-pandemic world, it will be interesting to see how the sale of counterfeit goods will change. In particular, what the future will be of in person, cash transactions. You can rest assured that the counterfeiters will lead the way in harnessing technology to their maximum benefit.
What do you think? What are your current enforcement challenges and what hazards in the road do you see ahead for stemming the sale of counterfeit goods.