Q1. Tell me about yourself?
My name is Adefunke Adeyeye, a dual qualified solicitor in Nigeria and England & Wales. I have worked in various industries across multiple jurisdictions in the last 18 years with 13 years in Senior leadership roles. I started brand protection when I joined GSK UK in 2018 as a senior counsel in its Anti-Counterfeiting team covering EMEA. Further to the separation of GSK’S Consumer Health business from its pharmaceutical business; I moved over to Haleon Plc in July 2022 as a senior counsel leading our Anti-Counterfeiting activities in EMEA & the Americas.
Q2. Counterfeit products pose risks to consumer safety and brand reputation. What legal and enforcement strategies are proving effective in the European context to tackle counterfeit goods?
Every company needs to have a fit for purpose brand protection strategy. However; the EUIPO is very good for brand protection through its portal. The portal serves as a one stop shop to connect with Law Enforcement officers in Europe. WCO; Europol and Interpol are also good resources for enforcement against trademark infringements and counterfeits, so the EU has the advantage of having an umbrella body for its member states.
Q3. Intellectual property rights play a central role in brand protection efforts. Are there any recent legislative changes or case precedents in European IP law that are noteworthy for anti-counterfeiting professionals?
The EUIPO portal is a welcome development in brand protection in the EU. Most EU countries are already signed on to this and can view your brands as well as send you seizure notifications. In November 2022, the European Commission published proposals to revise the EU design regime through a new regulation. This will accord organizations extra security by protecting their designs in addition to their trademarks. The proposal will also encompass new technological developments such as virtual designs in the metaverse.
Organizations are also exploring the use of Artificial Intelligence to help simplify the brand protection system in readiness for the future.
Q4. The digital landscape has significantly impacted counterfeiting, with online marketplaces being used as platforms to sell fake products. How can companies and legal experts address this growing challenge in Europe?
The pandemic brought about increased online counterfeits, so companies have had to react to this. Most organizations now have dedicated online resource to effectively monitor counterfeit products online as well as instruct take downs since the online face is not well regulated. We have a team focused on this and we partner with the major online marketplaces globally to instruct take downs and possible investigation into identified suspects.
Q5. In what outcomes do you think BPCEU will help you?
I look forward to meeting industry experts for possible collaboration of improved brand protection in Europe.