Formed in 2022, Shopee’s Brand Protection Team is focused on building new tools and capabilities, reviewing and improving existing policies, and spearheading brand protection programmes.
These include the Brand Protection Partnership (BPP) programme inaugurated in May this year to foster closer collaboration with brand partners and strengthen measures against intellectual properties (IP) infringement.
Its founding members include cosmetics and personal care giants, including P&G, Beiersdorf, Reckitt, and Shiseido.
To date, Shopee has engaged more than 300 brands, prevented the sale of over 33m IP-infringing listings, and suspended 1.4 times more seller accounts for IP-rights violations.
“Over the past year, we have doubled our efforts toward combating infringement and counterfeiting. Specifically for the beauty category, we recognise that counterfeit products not only adversely impact brand equity, but also present a potential risk to the health and safety of consumers.
“We are working closely with our network of leading brands, as well as local health authorities, to identify risk factors and take proactive measures to mitigate these risks,” Charles Hoskin, Head of Brand Protection at Shopee, told CosmeticsDesign-Asia.
The e-commerce platform’s brand protection strategy was outlined in its first Brand Protection Annual Report published on July 4.
Shopee is currently available to local users in markets across South East Asia, Taiwan, Latin America, and Europe.
Shopee’s approach towards brand protection consists of three key areas — building technology-enabled solutions to boost platform capabilities; strengthening brand partnerships and raising awareness of IP rights infringement; and stepping up industry-wide collaborations with stakeholders in both public and private sectors.
For instance, it has rolled out the Shopee Brand IP Portal, a platform for brands to register and protect their IPs. Following a one-time registration, brands can report suspected infringement cases and manage takedown requests across all markets.
Since its introduction last August, the Portal has seen a tenfold increase in users.
“Following the pilot phase, we are progressively increasing the Portal’s access to IP holders interested in reporting infringement cases to Shopee for enforcement. We have recently upgraded it with a new dashboard feature that provides real-time updates on case submissions,” Hoskin shared.
Besides developing more sophisticated machine learning algorithms powered by natural language processing tools, Shopee has also deployed listing management teams in each market to manually screen listings in local languages.
Some methods of counterfeit detection include matching price information against the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), regular screening of product listings for dubiously low prices, and automated screening for blacklisted keywords in listing descriptions.
“At the same time, we recognise the importance of seller education in the fight against counterfeit products on e-commerce marketplaces, as it helps foster a culture of responsible selling while encouraging compliance with IP laws and regulations.”
Shopee’s Seller Education Hub features content on seller obligations as well as platform policies with regard to IP violations and prohibited listings, while the Shopee Brand Protection Website has been launched to educate rights holders, sellers and consumers on IP rights and protection.
Online to offline
In addition, a pilot programme called Online-to-Offline (O2O), which aims to support brands’ offline investigations into cases of IP infringement, is ongoing.
It is a joint effort by Shopee, IP rights holders, and local law enforcement agencies to tackle the proliferation of counterfeit products on the online marketplace and to deter bad actors.
“Shopee collaborates with a diverse range of brand partners, each with their unique business priorities. We personalise our brand protection support for each right holder, maintaining an open dialogue and seeking their feedback on how we can better support them,” said Hoskin.
Furthermore, Shopee is working with various organisations to share best practices and discuss new ideas to ensure a safer online shopping environment.
These include Pharmaceutical Security Institute, Southeast Asia eCommerce Anti-Counterfeiting Working Group, Japan External Trade Organisation in Singapore, EuroCham Singapore, and Interpol.
“We are only at the beginning of this journey. In the year ahead, we will continue to strengthen our ecosystem and expand our brand-protection features to provide sellers, brands and consumers a peace of mind when using our platform. We are also actively exploring new collaborations and deepen partnerships with industry stakeholders.”