Feb 9, 2022
Companies and consumers around the world rely on the OEKO-TEX® brand. In order not to jeopardise this trust, the organisation is constantly investing in its brand protection. Since the beginning of the year, it has been relying on the expertise of the Berlin-based Brand Protection company SENTRYC, which uses the software of the same name to track brand abuse and plagiarism on online marketplaces and social media platforms. Online shopping is booming and while the last quarter of the year is characterised by e-commerce with a view to Black Friday and Christmas business, trademark infringements also increase at this time.
Market confidence of central importance
For almost three decades, OEKO-TEX® has stood for transparency along the international supply chains of the textile and leather industry, as well as for consumer protection and ensuring greater product responsibility and trust for all involved. Over 21,000 manufacturers, brands and retailers in more than 100 countries officially work with OEKO-TEX®. The number of labels and certificates issued rose to almost 32,000 in the last financial year. "The trust that the market places in our products in this regard is of central importance to us," says OEKO-TEX® Secretary General Georg Dieners. "In this context, OEKO-TEX® continuously takes measures to ensure constant quality assurance - especially including external perspectives." In order to protect the quality of the OEKO-TEX® brand and thereby ensure its credibility, the organisation has been taking action against legal infringements since March 2021 using the brand protection software SENTRYC . Since the beginning of the cooperation, cases of misuse in the mid 4-digit range have been uncovered and resolved in this way.
Transparency knows no pause
At any time of the day or night, SENTRYC continuously searches more than 160 international online marketplaces and all leading social networks. Based on machine learning, the software's search algorithm combines relevant keywords, detailed descriptions and images to find potential violations. The matching of manipulated images, photos of counterfeits or products and logos as well as suspicious links and hashtags is also covered automatically. SENTRYC also supports OEKO-TEX® in protecting against brand misuse and copyright infringements on these platforms. With a take-down button, OEKO-TEX® can independently decide which potential counterfeits or trademark infringements should be removed. In the best case, these disappear within 24 hours. Automation rules help to effectively ban dubious retailers or to avoid targeting licensed partners in the first place. For possible prosecutions, the software documents all relevant data including screenshots of the suspicious content. "We want to help create more transparency and give companies a tool they can use to defend themselves internationally," says Nicole Hofmann, CEO of SENTRYC. "I see our commitment to finding counterfeit products and preventing counterfeiters from selling them as a social duty."
Trademark protection concerns everyone
Trademark protection always means consumer protection as well. This is because it is becoming increasingly difficult to detect plagiarism and other trademark infringements. Product piracy is not a trivial offence: the production and distribution of counterfeits often take place within organised crime structures. This affects the entire supply chain from the procurement of raw materials to distribution, usually under precarious conditions for people and the environment - with qualitative and health consequences for the end consumer. Counterfeit textiles in particular may contain substances that are harmful to health and exceed legal limits. Anyone who buys counterfeit products, whether consciously or unconsciously, is not only endangering human rights and climate protection, but also their own health. The issue is fuelled by the rapid increase in online shopping: last year alone, customers worldwide spent about 2,900 billion US dollars in online shops. In Europe, digital sales are expected to increase by 42% by 2025 . However, the faster and more extensive online trade develops, the more urgently consumers need protection against fake offers and poor product quality. Even those who follow warnings and checklists are not always protected from plagiarism. Legally, the responsibility for keeping counterfeits off the market actually lies with the manufacturer and brand owner. This is why OEKO-TEX® relies on SENTRYC with its constant and global monitoring as a competent partner, especially with a view to the fourth quarter. This is because legal disputes on the subject of counterfeiting increase rapidly in the months around Black Friday and the Christmas business. A look at the analyses at SENTRYC confirms this. According to this, the number of fake offers on online marketplaces increases by an average of around 60% in the months of September to November compared to the remaining months.
With almost 30 years of experience, OEKO-TEX® is a global leader in enabling consumers and businesses to protect our planet by acting responsibly. OEKO-TEX® offers standardised solutions that enable customers to optimise their manufacturing processes and help bring high-quality and sustainable products to market. All services in the OEKO-TEX® portfolio serve to strengthen our customers' systems, processes and products and - ultimately - create more sustainable businesses. Currently, 21,000 manufacturers, brands and retailers in nearly 100 countries work with OEKO-TEX® to ensure that their products are tested for potential harmful substances. At the same time, millions of consumers around the world use the OEKO-TEX® labels to guide their purchasing decisions. OEKO-TEX® certified products and suppliers can be found online in the OEKO-TEX® Buyers' Guide at www.oeko-tex.com/de/buying-guide. Follow OEKO-TEX® on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Sentryc GmbH is a technology company founded in 2019 with headquarters in Berlin and offices in Barcelona and Szczecin. With its proprietary brand protection software, the current 35-member team led by managing director Nicole Jasmin Hofmann offers companies a digital solution that can be used to detect and stop product piracy and brand abuse on online marketplaces. For this purpose, the online experts provide their customers with a cloud solution that scans websites for products, identifies potential counterfeits, documents them and can then automatically report them for deletion. Prioritising data protection, the company hosts in Germany and works DSGVO-compliant.More information at sentryc.com. Follow Sentryc on LinkedIn.