Worldwide fight against plagiarism on the Internet: How Swarovski defends itself against pirates – the Director Global IP Enforcement reports at the MIPLM
Swarovski deals with plagiarism and counterfeiting of its products on trading platforms around the world. But through the cooperation with the Chinese Internet platform alibaba and the use of its own enforcement group, a first success was achieved.
Swarovski is a manufacturer of crystal glass from Austria. The company has been characterized by its special ability to grind glass since it was founded in 1895. Swarovski is one of the world’s leading brands in the field of jewelry and accessories. In the Swarovski brand, fashionable design merges with global branding. The continuous development of materials and techniques make Swarovski a leading manufacturer and market representative for sparkling crystal creations.
The Swarovski brand management is considered exemplary. So, in his book “Sensory Brand”, Paul Steiner selected Swarovski as a case study. For example, the internationally renowned Austrian artist André Heller is responsible for the unique brand platform Kristallwelten in the Tyrolean region of Hall-Wattens. The Kristallwelten adventure park, which is ten football fields in size, includes areas known as Chambers of Wonder, created, designed and inspired by artists such as Brian Eno, Keith Haring, Andy Warhol and Niki de Saint Phalle.
Swarovski deals with plagiarism and counterfeiting of its products on trading platforms worldwide. Leo Longauer, a graduate of the MIPLM, (Master Program for Intellectual Property Law and Management) gave his dinner speech at the MIPLM 2016/2017 at the CEIPI (Center for International Intellectual Property Studies) on February 21, 2017. He is Director Global IP Enforcement at Swarovski and is responsible for developing and implementing brand enforcement strategies for the Swarovski brand. He leads Swarovski’s in-house resources for brand enforcement and all related global operations. Before joining Swarovski, he was head of the IP department at UBS and led a trademark examination department at the Swiss Federal Institute for Intellectual Property in Bern.
How current Leo Longauer’s statements were can be seen in the case with Alibaba – a Chinese trading and communication platform (B-to-B). With 53 million users from 240 countries and regions, one of the world’s largest. In 2013, it is estimated that goods worth the equivalent of $ 240 billion were traded on the Alibaba platform. In January 2017, the US news service Bloomberg reported that Alibaba was the first Chinese e-commerce platform to sue a seller of counterfeit Swarovski products for 1.4 million yuan (US $ 202,000). This step is considered proof of the strategy of the trading giant from China to keep brand pirates away from its platform in the long term. But that’s not all. In August 2016, Leo Longauer’s enforcement group celebrated another success in China: The Shenzen Louhu District found more than 125 counterfeit Swarovski watches with a total value of RMB 2 million (US $ 290,625) in a raid on a product pirate.
The manuscript of the Dinner speech: „Brand protection challenges in 2017”