With more people shopping online than ever, consumers are relying on online retailers and service providers for their purchases.
Unfortunately, the convenience of online shopping comes with challenges; the costs to Australian businesses due to counterfeit products are increasing.
The Australian government hopes to promote confidence in Australian brands and reduce the amount of counterfeit products for sale online through their Smart Trade Marks initiative.
The purpose of the Smart Trade Mark is to prove a product’s origin and in some way assist trade mark owners with real-time enforcement by enabling them to authenticate their products or services. Trade mark owners will be able to connect digitally to the government register to prove they are the authentic owner of a brand. IP Australia describe the process as having 3 steps:
1. The trade mark owner submits product information and/or domain address through IP Australia to create a Smart Trade Mark.
2. Those details are secured, stored and linked to the government trade mark register used to authenticate the trade mark.
3. The Smart Trade Mark can then be digitally verified online using a trust badge, giving consumers confidence that the product and brands they are purchasing are in fact genuine and authentic.
The Australian Government, through IP Australia began trialling the Smart Trade Mark back in 2018 and is currently working on trialling the platform with several newer projects, including partnerships with the National Rugby League (NRL) as well as the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation.
“According to IP Australia, they’ve identified that an estimated 3.3 % of world trade is counterfeit.”
The Trust Badge
The NRL are trialling the Trust Badge to resolve confusion by tackling counterfeit merchandise.
The Trust Badge is underpinned by Blockchain technology and offers customers visual proof of authenticity by linking genuine online products and services with a verified Smart Trade Mark.
Trade mark owners can create as many trust badges as they need, by applying and providing the web address where the Trust Badge will be displayed.
IP Australia is working on releasing the Smart Trade Mark API (Application Programming Interface) to enable users to integrate Smart Trade Mark directly with their business systems. This will enable any connected application or service to create or verify Smart Trade Marks. Consumers and importers will be able to instantly check if a product has a registered Australian trade mark.
While the results of the trials look promising, IP Australia have not provided a specific timeframe for the API to be rolled out to the broader public, but we will keep you up to date with any new developments.
In the meantime, click here for more information on Smart Trade Marks and the Trust Badge.
For assistance with your trade marks in Australia and abroad, contact Geraldine Rimmer firstname.lastname@example.org.