On February 5, 2013 Mark Schonfeld and Alexandra Capachietti gave a brown bag presentation to an engaged audience regarding Combating Internet Piracy. Sponsored by the Computer and Internet Law Committee of the Intellectual Property Section, the presentation provided an overview of the ubiquitous problem of infringing and counterfeiting goods offered for sale on the Internet. From counterfeit handbags, to electronics, cigars, and even wine, Mark and Alex showed how the Internet provides the ideal marketplace for counterfeit sellers. The online sales platforms are inexpensive to use, allow sellers to operate under aliases and otherwise avoid identification, and give sellers freedom to use photos depicting products and packaging for genuine products so that it is nearly impossible for consumers to know whether these goods sold online are genuine prior to purchase.
Mark and Alex discussed the various strategies for brand owners attempting to police and enforce intellectual property rights against online counterfeiters. Some tips they shared included: ways to monitor online sales platforms and take advantage of various anti-counterfeiting programs the sales platforms have in place; methods for investigating online infringers; preventive measures brand owners can take, including recording intellectual property rights with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol; initiating civil litigation, including a discussion of the type of internet activities that can give to jurisdiction over defendants; and the decision of whether to pursue and how to cooperate with authorities in criminal actions against online infringers. The presentation was informative and useful to the practice of the attorneys who attended.