The concept behind a public lynching is to remind onlookers of the consequences of breaking a particular law. Some manufacturing companies suggest the business equivalent of a lynching would serve as a deterrent to counterfeiters.
Investigating and prosecuting counterfeiters is a long and expensive process. In many cases it involves organizations such as the U.S. Customs Service or the federal, state and local court systems. For small businesses, the cost of pursuing a legal remedy could outweigh counterfeit-related product losses.
Small companies can attack counterfeiters by participating in public forums that identify sources of bogus products. In the electronics industry, the Electronic Resellers Association International (ERAI) sponsors a Website where users can post information about suspect devices; identify the source of problem products and share their experiences.
Manufacturers admit there are some risks to using the Internet: naming companies online could be considered libelous; flagging suppliers can damage supply chain relationships; and verifying anonymous users is next to impossible.
Some of these pitfalls can be avoided if the site is sponsored by a neutral third party or a trade association and requires users to register. The Coalition Against Counterfeiting and Piracy (CACP) also recommends involving customs authorities by:
· Registering trademarks with customs authorities
· Providing samples of legitimate products and training authorities and law enforcement to recognize contraband
· Providing information about “bad actors” with local customs authorities so that they can increase scrutiny of shipments from particular facilities or importers
· Developing procedures with customs authorities to permit sharing of information on the source of counterfeit products seized and the names of businesses and individuals involved