When I have watched the ad below around some savvy marketing and supply-chain management folks, the reactions have been generally been in the  “wow – that’s really cool” vain.   IBM seems to really be doing something right with its ability to help companies prevent counterfeit product, and clearly it’s important enough to its customers to warrant an ad focused on it.

“But, Martha,” you retort, “my trademark is not a barcode.  So how can I defend it from counterfeit?”  Relatively simple.  If you have a registered trademark, for the relatively low fee of $190 per class for the remainder of the term of the trademark registration, you can record your trademark with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.  You tell them the names and addresses of manufacturers and licensees and other facts related to use of the mark. Once recorded, when product enters a U.S. airport or seaport, U.S. Customs agents can review shipments against the information that you have provided and can seize counterfeit product with no additional cost to you.  Sometimes they seize one t-shirt from an E-bay purchase and sometimes they seize cartons full of product.  If the seizure is not fought, the counterfeit product is destroyed.  The US government will do this all for under $200 per class per trademark for the remainder of its term (or as little as $19/year).

I’m an IPDer.