The role of AI in combatting counterfeits

Written by Tom Synott | January 23, 2024

Intellectual Property

Following on from our recent series of blogs examining some of the challenges posed by artificial intelligence (‘AI’) (here, here), commentators are becoming increasingly optimistic as to some of the benefits it might bring, particularly regarding the perpetual fight against counterfeiters.

Counterfeit products are estimated to cost the global economy over $500 billion a year[1]. In the absence of any type of quality control, they can also pose real health and safety risks together with supporting illicit supply lines and criminal enterprises. Against this backdrop, the private sector is rapidly adopting AI driven solutions to combat counterfeiting, with some encouraging early results.

Global companies are creating in-house teams whose sole function it is to investigate alleged counterfeits, utilising a combination of legal experience supported with the latest technology. Amazon in particular has adopted AI tools to scan billions of listings each day: machine learning allows the technology to cross-compare listings against an existing database of IP rights to flag infringements at exponentially increasing speeds.

Key to these programmes’ success has been rightsholder co-operation: AI is only as good as the data on which it relies and it will be pivotal in the coming years for brand owners to adopt a collaborative approach with these types of programmes so that they have as rich a data set as possible on which to rely.

Nonetheless, as with any weapon, AI remains double edged and it could just as easily assist in the creation of fakes as combatting them: one of the chief methods to spot a counterfeit is human error in design after all. Rights holders will have to remain vigilant and ensure that they remain one step ahead of the criminal competition in what is rapidly become a technological arms race.

Briffa comment

Here at Briffa, the team benefits from over 25 years’ experience assisting with all aspects of intellectual property protection and enforcement: we have a trusted global network of customs officials and associate law firms who can act rapidly to assist if your rights are being infringed anywhere in the world. If you need any further information in this regard, please do feel free to get in touch with us via

[1] Counterfeit products cost the global economy over $500 billion a year. That’s why the private sector is partnering with U.S. Customs and Border protection to raise awareness nationwide to educate Americans about the dangers of counterfeits. | U.S. Chamber of Commerce (

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