A trademark is a way of marking a specific product or service with a logo, word, phrase, sound, smell, shape, picture, movement, aspect of packaging, or a combination of these. The goal of trademark law is to protect the rights of holders or owners over their unique products and services by using their distinctive marks in association with their creations. Such a mark can fall into any of the defined categories.
One of the biggest threats to the credibility of trademark law is when someone is successful in falsely replicating the goods or products and passing them off to be their own while selling them using the reputation of the original producer. Counterfeiting refers to the production of goods with malicious intent, with a goal to deceive and harm the original creators of those goods and services. In it, a well-known or registered brand name has been imitated without the approval of the genuine brand trademark rights holder, and the impersonation is of such a nature that cannot distinguish the essential component of the fake merchandise from the certified one. Counterfeit products may also include manuals, stickers, leaflets, and other similar items. Gradually, the fakes will grow ubiquitous enough that people will struggle to recognize the actual goods. At some point, it would seem beyond customers’ capabilities to distinguish, let alone report phony items. Needless to say, this both reduces the sales figures and the overall perception of quality of the original.
In such cases there’s a new player in town, who can potentially distinguish between actual branded items and fake ones, and that is Artificial Intelligence.
How Does AI Factor Into Trademark Protection?
Artificially Intelligent programs are used to detect and remove counterfeit items. They carry out their tasks by analyzing images using a series and sets of algorithms and computations. Written textual data is also used to speed up the process of detecting and reporting counterfeited goods. Ultimately, it means that AI-enabled innovations may be designed to recognize inexpensive and high-volume counterfeit items on e-Commerce sites on their own, without the trouble of actual people having to comb through the myriad online listings of goods.
AI programs continuously spot the infringement of IP rights, making the holders of these rights aware of the breach on their trademark or copyrighted properties. For example, infinitesimal fingerprinting of things like electronic gadgets, pieces of jewelry and expensive ornaments, objects of beauty and care, and so on. Manufacturers and producers can potentially see a rise in the trust value of consumers dealing with their brand because they influence AI to secure the preservation of their IP and the rights connected with it, therefore assisting them in maintaining their image.
With the help of the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) and EU IPO (European Union Intellectual Property Office), frameworks working on AI have effectively begun to make their hold in the area of trademarks. The increasing market for fake products is a continuous and worrisome issue for all IP rights holders and AI systems are now actively influencing the identification of fake merchandise.
Manifestations of AI in Trademark Protection
Amazon has created a mechanism in which trademark owners may register their rig. It is a tool that allows trademark owners to register their rights with the Brand Registry. Following that, the software uses AI to analyze Amazon listing identify possible counterfeits, and delete them. Amazon’s Brand Registry initiative, which the firm claims reduces infringements by 99 percent, employs machine learning and software engineers, research scientists, program managers, and investigators. However, there is a potential drawback to the same. Only brands registered on Amazon can be identified as fraudulent by the AI-assisted brand registry tool. There may still be numerous legitimate products that do not have a documented presence on Amazon and whose counterfeit stuff sells on and Amazon.
Blockchain is a database or such network of computers, that stores and shares information and data in the form of block and chain. The style and fashion business has been utilizing blockchain innovation for quite a while by labelling merchandise with chips or QR codes. This data can likewise be utilized to recognize fake merchandise, parallel imports, and invades and to stop their conveyance inside the commercial center. These chips or QR codes store data about the existing pattern of the products only their production unit has manufactured. Blockchain technology integrated with AI may potentially be used to secure digital items. It can also offer trademark owners certainty that their products are safeguarded by a mechanism that prevents the seller from accessing the digital product once it has been sold and transferred to the buyer. This can be accomplished through the use of a borrowing service that ensures the digital output is returned on time.
Specialized companies are already on the ball to provide advanced technology solutions to corporations and brands to protect their products from counterfeiting. Entrupy (the first on-demand artificial intelligence counterfeit detection application), Red Points (an online platform for reducing product infringements), Cypheme (a company that provides anti-counterfeiting programs for both brands and governments), and others are developing solutions that specialize in providing low-cost, high-volume identification of counterfeit products. Entrupy’s camera magnifies the fabric at least 100 times, making characteristics in the material undetectable to the naked eye evident in the resultant photos. For example, if the object in issue is a handbag, AI will examine 500 to 1,500 characteristics, such as color, stitching, and the pattern of pores in leather, depending on the brand. Depending on the quality, a result appears in the app in a period ranging from 60 seconds to an hour. With each use, the algorithm improves incrementally, increasing accuracy. If the goods are not authentic, they can be restored to the retailer.
We all know that we are living in an era of staggeringly fast technical development, and laws of IP have been unable to keep pace with the developments happening in the world. Often, technology-related problems tend to have technology related solutions, as can be seen from how such new developments are being adapted to combat new problems.
Author: Aranya Nath, Legal Intern at PA Legal.
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