KT for good: Is that bag legit? Check the trademark


KT for good: Is that bag legit? Check the trademark

Firms that register the most trademarks generally invest significantly in their product, development and innovation.

By Sipho Ngwenya (The Legal Group, Advocates and Legal Consultants)

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Published: Sun 23 Jun 2019, 11:00 AM

Last updated: Sun 23 Jun 2019, 2:12 PM

The UAE has made great strides in combatting counterfeits. In 2018, over 20 million pieces of counterfeit goods were seized, with a street value of approximately Dh350 million, according to reports.
The Legal Group was responsible for a number of raids, resulting in the confiscation of millions of items ranging from motor parts, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, clothing and more. Trademarks are the grounds on which this battle is fought, and anti-counterfeiting measures cannot be looked into without talking about trademarks. Counterfeiting, in essence, is trademark infringement.
What is a trademark?
Trademarks are defined as "any sign or combination of signs capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one undertaking from those of another", pursuant to the agreement of Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement 1994). A trademark can be a sign, denominations, letters, numbers, colours or a combination or all of these elements.
A trademark is also defined by its function - the ability to be distinctive and assist consumers to differentiate one service or product from another, clarifying the origin and quality of the service or product.
What this means is that a trademark is a brand that has been registered. For a brand to be protected from any infringement, including counterfeiting, the first and most important step is to register it.
Trademarks may also be seen as economic indicators and tools.
Counterfeit goods may harm consumers and they can have a detrimental effect on the economics of trade of the area where they are found.
Exposure to counterfeiting has a significant negative impact on brand value. Trust is lost when consumers do not receive the quality expected of the brand.
Therefore, registered trademarks can be protected by the law, and trademark owners have the right to file complaints against any infringement.
Indicator of innovation
Trademark registrations are considered by experts to be an effective indicator of innovation and development in an economy.
Firms that register the most trademarks generally invest significantly in their product, development and innovation.
A research in the European Union showed that the five countries with the most trademark registrations are the same countries with the most powerful economies. Together, they account for 80 per cent of registrations. This leads to the conclusion that trademarks are an indicator of strong economies.
Similar researches have shown that high-tech sectors register more trademarks than low-tech sectors, which means trademarks are also an indicator of technological advancement.
How to spot a fake
>Be wary of deals that are 'too good to be true'
Fake goods are sold at low prices. Don't buy something you know is far below the recommended retail price, no matter how tempting it may seem. If the discount is too good to be true, it usually is.
>Check the packaging
Something that's supposed to be expensive will not be delivered to you wrapped in plastic. Be wary of anything with flimsy packaging or with no logo. If you do see a brand logo, compare it with the one found on the company's website. Misspellings and differences in design could mean you've got a fake item
>Know the 'hallmarks' of the real product
Before you shop, get familiar with the product's appearance, including the brand markings and any unique details
>Read the reviews
If you're buying online, check the background of the trader from customer reviews. Always try to buy from a brand's official website or from an authorised seller of the product. Ask the trader you're buying from whether they offer an after-sales service or guarantee.

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