PIs can Help Businesses Conduct Infringement Investigations
Infringement investigators usually focus on trademark and brand violations of a company. Finding evidence that proves infringements is quite difficult and requires experienced private investigators.
Due to their access to many resources, private investigators can find ways to prove if anyone is using a company’s trademark without approval.
Our private investigators had to solve similar cases and managed to confirm that third parties were indeed illegally using a company’s business name and marketing materials.
The evidence of infringement
Trademark infringement is defined by the US Patent and Trademark Office as “the unauthorized use of a trademark or service mark on or in connection with goods and services that is likely to cause confusion, deception or mistake about the source of the goods and services.” So, experts in the field need to find out if someone is using a company’s trademark without approval, find the trademark infringers, and identify their methods.
Many times, those who infringe live in a different jurisdiction and know how to hide their activities to avoid legal repercussions. They can sell fake goods like sports shoes or electronics using famous brand names, in small stalls or shops, to customers who aren’t aware of their schemes and want to enjoy a good deal.
Social media platforms are now the perfect market to sell counterfeit products and goods. Many Instagram and Twitter accounts sell fake goods that damage the name of companies like Adidas and Nike. As expected, the accounts can’t be linked to real persons, so private investigators need to conduct undercover investigations and track the persons behind those accounts.
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The methods used to track the infringers
The help of a private investigator is vital when conducting an infringement investigation. They have the knowledge, means, and resources to track down the persons hiding behind the unauthorized use of the domain name or trademark.
A private investigator provides various investigative services, and the detection of infringement is one of them. The trademark infringement investigation usually starts with a general search of the trademark.
There are different level searches – state, national, and international. They will use public records, background investigations, as well as the web’s various facets – surface web, deep web, and dark web, to identify trademark infringements in various languages. This step of the investigation requires various advanced software, resources, and complex search techniques.
The next step in the trademark investigation is to make contact with the infringers. The fastest way to do this is for the private investigator to pretend to be a customer and conduct a pretext investigation. This ensures undercover penetration of the infringing organization and allows them to collect evidence about the way the trademark is used and sold. If the culpable party has a brick-and-mortar store, things get a bit easier because the PI can talk to them face-to-face.
The investigation gets a bit more complicated when private investigators have to deal with online trademark infringements. However, this is not an insurmountable obstacle for experienced PIs. Private investigators conduct social networking investigations to identify the account owners and follow their traces, including their financial background, to get the necessary evidence for their case.
In one of the cases related to our trademark infringement services, we used surveillance and documentation to identify the third party that used the company’s brand name and marketing materials without permission.
Surveillance is usually the safest way identification of threats and infringers, especially if they use physical locations to commit this crime.
However, having an investigator perform surveillance can be an expensive proposition. So, to keep the cost of hiring an investigator low, there are other cost-effective tools we can implement.
To learn more about our private trademark infringement services, contact us for a free consultation. We would be happy to assist you!
Post Update: The article was updated on December 20th, 2022, originally published on January 3rd, 2019. It has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.