Electronic commerce has increased noticeably in our countries as a result of the closure of stores due to the COVID-19 emergency.
Many people, as well as small businesses, some informally, have chosen to offer their products and services online. Some of them are dedicated to reselling products and even many virtual stores where you can buy a variety of products have proliferated.
Although it is true, this can and in fact is boosting the ailing economy, it also becomes fertile ground for trademark and copyright infringements, whether it is due to negligence, ignorance or done intentionally by economic agents.
In fact, statistics have already begun to emerge, according to which a considerable increase in sales of adulterated or counterfeit products is detected, both in clothing and, worryingly, even in food products and medicines as well.
In the light of this situation it is important as a consumer to take the respective measures to buy products from reliable sites, carefully reviewing the legitimacy of the goods purchased.
Furthermore, merchants must carefully use social media and digital distribution channels to market and offer their products. It is imperative that proper use of intellectual property is made, mainly if it does not belong to you. Although there are provisions to mention third-party brands when offering products, this should be limited to referencing the qualities of the products or their availability. Likewise, the use of photographs to promote or offer for sale your merchandise must be limited to those in which the rights are held. Therefore, using third party photographs without authorization to sell products may constitute a violation, even if these are photographs found on official sites.
In the same way, resorting to strategies that may confuse consumers about the origin of the products may also be a violation of intellectual property rights or be considered as an anti-competitive practice.
Although there are judicial measures to stop infringements, it is important to be aware that many of the social networks and Internet pages have established protocols and protection mechanisms against eventual or flagrant violations of intellectual property rights. Therefore, there are measures actionable by those affected that may result in the blocking of the page that contains infringing material.
Because of this, before or during the launch of an online store or sale of online products, it is necessary to take the appropriate measures to protect and respect intellectual property, since misuse may have the opposite effect to that intended, that is, instead of starting a new business to increase income it may become a serious legal contingency.