Applying AI and ML solutions to mitigate online brand threats

05 September 2023 6 min. read

In today’s interconnected world, where the internet serves as the backbone of commerce and communication, the protection of a brand is more critical and challenging than ever before. Kirill Kukshev from Gorodissky & Partners outlines some of the key online brand threats that companies can face, and how they can be mitigated through smart technology.

The rapid growth of e-commerce and the rise of social media platforms have created a vast digital landscape where brands interact with consumers. While this provides businesses with unprecedented opportunities for growth and engagement, it also exposes them to numerous risks.

Some of the main issues and threats that can seriously affect a brand include: counterfeit goods, parallel import, brand abuse, unauthorized online sales, piracy, and phishing.

Applying AI and ML solutions to mitigate online brand threats

Fraudulent actions could occur in every product market, from pharmaceutical products to software. Cheaters deceive customers by creating fake websites, duplicating social media accounts, and selling counterfeits on marketplaces.

Another widely used method of online fraud is cybersquatting. So-called entrepreneurs register domains containing the name of brands, geographical objects, and other popular, recognizable things to resell them later or to create fake websites and lead the customers astray with a view to selling counterfeit products. Cybersquatting cases have increased dramatically in recent years.

Even worse, frauds may target to steal customers’ personal and financial information by creating phishing sites and sending spam emails.

Meanwhile, social media has become one of the main channels for scammers to redirect users to their sites, steal sensitive information, or sell counterfeits. Businesses can feel the negative effect of such scams rather quickly if the issues are not addressed promptly. Infringements in social media affect thousands of brands globally in different ways and are a growing problem.

Fake profiles may impersonate a brand by unauthorized use of intellectual property. Cheaters advertise imitations on social media as originals and can sell them through fake profiles.

Marketplaces are also one of the primary online sources of alleged intellectual property infringements. No matter how big or small the brand is, bad actors can target it on marketplaces by selling counterfeit products and authentic goods without authorization and using catalog images of products without the brand’s permission.

As a result, customers are deceived, brands lose profit, and personal information is used for fraudulent activities. And who do the customers blame for all this? Unfortunately, the answer is – brands.

The role of AI and ML in brand protection

As a result, brands are expected to safeguard their online presence and channels. This is where technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) can provide guidance.

Progressive AI and ML based online brand protection solutions monitor millions of resources, including domain name databases, aggregators, marketplaces, social media, search engines, phishing resources, web services, mobile app stores, paid ads, messengers, live streaming services, and others.

Such information is being collected and analyzed using AI and ML. The user uploads keywords, logos, videos, and audio files of the rights holder. It could also be possible to upload SKUs. Uploading whitelists of authorized goods, authorized dealers, and stores allows the system to detect infringements more precisely and classify them depending on the nature of the violation: fraud, brand misuse, piracy or counterfeiting.

After setup, the system starts monitoring for infringements. When the scanning is done, the system can automatically take down the infringements. Platforms allow to analyze the collected data and investigate the size of the activity of the sellers. This, in its turn, enables identifying the worst infringers and taking legal action against them.

The pre-trial measures like sending takedown notices, blocking websites and removal of illegal content are taken automatically by the system. As a result, up to 80% of infringements may be eliminated.

The system’s effectiveness largely depends on how easily it can be localized, adapted to a specific language and requirements of a particular marketplace or platform.

Implementing AI-based solutions in the Middle East

While the core principles of AI-based online brand protection solutions remain the same globally, there are some specific considerations and challenges that brands in the Middle East may encounter, which could lead to some differences in how these solutions are implemented and utilized in the region. Such considerations include:

Language: Brands operating in the Middle East often need to monitor content in multiple languages, with Arabic being a prominent one. AI and ML solutions need to be proficient in Arabic language processing to effectively monitor and analyze online content in the region.

Culture: Cultural norms and sensitivities can vary significantly in the Middle East. AI and ML algorithms should be trained to recognize content that may be offensive or culturally inappropriate, as brand protection efforts should align with local values and customs.

Counterfeit: The Middle East has faced challenges related to counterfeit products, especially in certain product categories. AI-based solutions should be adept at identifying and combating counterfeit goods in the region.

Regulation: Laws and regulations related to brand protection can differ from country to country in the Middle East. Brands should ensure that their AI-based solutions are compliant with local regulations, especially in terms of data privacy and intellectual property rights.

Collaboration: In some cases, working closely with local law enforcement and regulatory bodies may be necessary to combat online brand infringement effectively. AI and ML solutions can facilitate the gathering and presentation of evidence for legal actions.

Selecting a solution

When choosing a particular solution from those on the market, it is essential to understand which solution is the most comprehensive and suitable. 

Notably, a system alone may not be sufficient to deter offenders. Some offenders may for instance not respond to the methods used by the system and continue their illegal activities. In this case, the best option is to embrace a solution that is backed up by an IP law firm that can proceed with protecting intellectual property through test purchases, police raids, customs support, and legal proceedings.

At Gorodissky & Partners, we have developed our online brand protection solution (Gorodissky IP Security) based on AI and ML, with outstanding infringements’ takedown effectiveness, easy localization and language adaptation, and a big team of legal experts for offline global protection.