Intellectual Property Investigation Services
Our proficiency and ingenuity yield cost-effective end-to-end solutions for our clients.
What do you want to uncover? What questions are you trying to answer? What is the crux of the issue that you need evidence to support? We strive to ensure that our investigative strategy is focused accordingly.
While outlining several of our most common services, every case has a degree of uniqueness specific to your needs, objectives and budget. We readily customize our solutions with your end goals in mind.
ANONYMOUS INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ACQUISITIONS
Successful intellectual property acquisitions are not achieved by sending an e-mail to the owner and simply asking if the domain, patent or trademark is for sale. It may happen on rare occasion, but more often than not, it requires savvy and strategy. Our conversion rate of successful IP acquisitions is over 75%.
Whether acquiring a domain, well-known trademark or social media handle, our experience and methods allow us to negotiate and procure the intellectual property of interest, while saving clients’ money and maintaining their anonymity. All acquisitions are performed in accordance with the ethical rules governing permissible conduct as defined by the ABA (American Bar Association) for the given jurisdiction.
Related case studies:
COUNTERFEIT ENFORCEMENT PLANNING & CONSULTATION
How do you decide where to start? Every trademark owner has its own priorities, perspectives and budgets, not to mention the internal pressures from management and stakeholders. At Vaudra International, our focus is helping you achieve your unique goals and ROI, whether on a case by case basis or fueling an overall brand protection program.
After collaborating with IP owners for over 20 years, we have the expertise to build effective, customized programs to fit your needs, from identifying the scope of counterfeiting to development and implementation of an enforcement strategy (and all the steps in-between). We have created and assisted in the design and execution of anti-counterfeiting programs from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies.
DISTRIBUTOR / MLM COMPLIANCE
Many brands strive for marketing and messaging consistency across all channels and at all levels. Likened to secret shopping or hiring mystery shoppers, our service can be as high level or in-depth as necessary. While the definition of compliance varies from brand to brand, we understand that upholding certain standards helps support brand integrity and maintain consumer confidence. This continuity becomes even more important when involving potential health cures, safety or lifestyle claims.
Whether related to the use of social media, smartphone applications, private websites, ecommerce platforms or in-person interactions, we go through the real-life experience, documenting accordingly to facilitate your review and evaluation of multi-level marketing distributor/partner behaviors. At times, our service also may include identifying an unknown entity, unmasking activities on previously unidentified sales channels or discreet dialogue with a partner. We customize our service and deliverables to the aspects important to you and your stakeholders.
Evidence is king, shaping and informing what to do next. We provide discreet, controlled evidentiary purchases, methodically documented, while our investigators, and consequently our clients, remain anonymous. We go wherever your product is, completing purchases through smartphone applications, ecommerce websites, online marketplaces, social media forums or brick and mortar locations.
Whether the transaction occurs in the physical or virtual world, we use secure payment methods with shipments delivered to private mailbox locations. In most instances, we are able to satisfy any known jurisdictional requirement, whether domestic or abroad. Evidential purchases are regularly a component in other types of investigations like trademark counterfeiting, patent infringement, unauthorized seller & supplier identifications. Whatever the end game, a successfully completed purchase with related transactional evidence is a critical step in any action plan.
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FRAUD PREVENTION & EXAMINATION
Small businesses and non-profit organizations are acutely at risk for losses due to fraud. If profits or cash flow are not keeping pace with sales, it could be due to fraudulent activity. If inventory shrinkage stays stubbornly high or customers complain about billing issues, fraud could be a factor. An assessment of the level of fraud risk at your company and recommendations for reducing vulnerabilities is the first step. If you suspect fraudulent activity, we can examine the circumstances, investigate and report on the likely cause along with providing recommendations for preventing future losses.
The team member responsible for these services has over three decades experience in financial services, including 14 years analyzing financial statements for forensic activity. He has also conducted numerous investigations into financial fraud.
IPR RECORDATION, U.S. CUSTOMS
Recording your trademark with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) should be a top priority and starting point in an effective, anti-counterfeiting strategy. Once your trademark is a reality with a registration number, it can be recorded through CBP’s Intellectual Property Rights e-Recordation (IPRR) digital application. This step is your first line of defense in preventing illegal imports of counterfeit products into the U.S. If CBP suspects a shipment to be counterfeit, they will access your e-Recordation information to authenticate the cargo and send you a notification of the seized products, importer and exporter details.
We are glad to record your trademarks for you so you can check it off your “To Do” list. Working with you to obtain the essential information, we understand what is needed, can streamline the process, and know how to maneuver the CBP website and IPRR. Please note – Each registered trademark must be recorded separately.
Is a competitor or other party suspected of infringing on your or your client’s patent? Or do you want to ensure that your idea or intended patent does not infringe on an existing one? Whether as a proactive or reactive measure to understand what is offered in the marketplace, Vaudra International is available to support your efforts.
Patents are specialized and complex, and the investigations often follow suit. Our concentration is gathering the evidence and supporting documentation in order for you to evaluate how or if patent infringement may exist. Once the pertinent information and/or evidential sample is obtained, we work with you to determine if a possible patent acquisition may be feasible (should that be a route you wish to consider).
Patent acquisitions, more often than not, involve intricate subject matter and require advanced negotiation skills. Our investigators have the experience and skills necessary to orchestrate negotiations, in a discrete manner, ultimately leading to a favorable outcome for you or your client.
THIRD-PARTY INFRINGEMENT LITIGATION SUPPORT
This investigation service discovers, acquires and preserves related evidence, historical and current data to support broad and non-exclusive use of a similar design, trademark or trade dress. Legal professionals recognize that the online, digital landscape and its scenery is ever changing. Our methods and practice of digital, evidentiary capture and preservation is widely accepted by the profession.
Whether the information needed involves asset investigations, court testimonies, background checks, due diligence or third-party investigations, Vaudra International is a resource for the supporting documentation and evidence required to build a solid case.
Counterfeiting or some degree of unauthorized trademark use plagues virtually every brand owner. We empathize with the frustration and aggravation in addressing this inevitable cost of success and want to help you fight back. Collaborating with our clients to identify high value targets, we investigate, gather evidence, and present the facts to create a plan of action that supports their objectives.
Conducting investigations into the sale and distribution of counterfeit goods, domestically & abroad, online & offline, and determining knowledge & intent to establish grounds for State and/or Federal violations (Lanham Act) is at the core of our company. Our founders were conducing these types of investigations in the early 1990s, when such cases were undertaken by only a few private investigation firms. Certainly, the mind & methodology of the counterfeiter has changed dramatically since then. Social media networks, communication apps, and smartphones enable 24/7 connectivity for today’s modern counterfeiter as well as the buyers, sellers and suppliers.
Our investigative methods uncover intelligence and identify methods to restore the advantage to the trademark owner. As evidence develops, we work with you and provide recommendations for possible action based on the facts. Whether the goal is to send a cease & desist letter, remove online listings or present the case to law enforcement for action, we provide support from start to finish in alignment with your instructions and objectives.
Related case studies:
TRADEMARK USE INVESTIGATIONS
Significant time, resources and creativity were invested to develop and design your trademark. Ultimately, that trademark delivers the consumer’s first impression of your company, product or service. When verifying if a common law trademark supersedes your client’s application, compiling information to support an opposition or determining past/current/future use of an existing mark, Vaudra International is your resource to uncover the answers.
While each case may have its nuances, after conducting thousands of these investigations, we innately understand what is needed without being told, know the questions to ask and have proven methodology to uncover the facts – whether related to trademark use, trade dress or trademark infringement. Our full-time, licensed investigators expertly work your case. When looming deadlines for trademark applications or opposition filings exist, we are responsive to your time frame, often commencing such investigations within 24 hours or sooner (as necessary).
UNAUTHORIZED SELLER IDENTIFICATION
The importance of identifying the individual behind an online seller ID or handle in the virtual marketplace has dramatically increased, especially when it appears the seller is not authorized to offer your products, or the product is suspected to be counterfeit. The original premise of seller names was to protect a legitimate, individual’s legal name when operating online. Over time, the creation and usage of such names evolved into an instrument of anonymity, often intentionally used to conceal identities, and whether selling counterfeit or genuine products, eroding a brand’s channel distribution strategy.
Using our experience, closed source information and proven methodology, we are successful in identifying individuals behind online facades. When identified, we verify the information with a secondary resource to ensure that you have actionable intelligence to inform your potential actions.
UNAUTHORIZED SUPPLIER IDENTIFICATION / STOCK LOT LOCATE
The sale, distribution and trade of factory overruns, second-quality products and counterfeits from countries such as Pakistan, China and Bangladesh, is abundant in the wholesale marketplace. Whether or not it is unauthorized and/or potentially considered illegal (or enforceable) depends on a variety of factors, but regardless, an important first step is uncovering the facts to enable the brand’s experts to determine authenticity. We are experienced and accomplished in acquiring samples, identifying the manufacturer, seller and location of the products without our traveling outside the U.S. to achieve marked results.
As a result of over 15 years of undercover investigations, our global informant network provides intelligence on stock lot offerings regularly, spanning a wide array of brands and product categories. Are you curious if we have received offers relevant to your brand or product? Please just ask us.
U.S. IMPORTS IDENTIFICATION & ASSESSMENT
Do you suspect a domestic entity is importing your brand’s products into the U.S.? Did you receive a seizure notice from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)? We have access to closed source, third-party data for ocean freight shipments to validate your suspicions, search for additional and previously imported shipments, and obtain bills of lading. We routinely use these resources to further our daily investigations and also offer access to it as a stand-alone service.
If you provide us with a couple key identifiers, we will deliver the accessible data for review and evaluation of next steps. Having access to the data is one thing; knowing how to use it is another. We proficiently navigate the available information and produce results, focused on your objectives.
Website Age Verification Testing
Virtually everything is available for purchase online, which includes products, substances and services that are subject to age restrictions. While verifying a consumer’s age prior to loading a website with a pop-up dialog box, “Are you 18?” or “Are you 21?,” was sufficient at one time, some companies decide further validation is warranted to ensure compliance with industry regulatory standards or enhance consumer protections from potential underage use. There is a wide array of technologies that companies may implement on their ecommerce platforms to safeguard against sales to underage consumers, but how effective are they?
If you are interested in field testing your website’s age verification processes, we collaborate with our clients as a trusted, neutral third-party to develop and implement a strategy. Depending on the scope & parameters, this may include (but is not limited to) recruiting, independent identity/age confirmation of potential participants, instructing, tracking, and reporting. We welcome the opportunity to support our clients with projects of this nature where confidentiality, reliability & attention to detail is of critical importance.
According to our Clients
As investigators, one of our core values is protecting the confidentiality of our clients. Consequently, we have not identified our clients in these testimonials. We are willing to provide references upon request after first seeking our clients’ permission.
Vaudra has provided valuable skill and expertise in collecting hard evidence and proof to start legal proceedings. The most noteworthy aspect was the speed in which they were able to become operative from initial contact. They really know their work; I really appreciated that they asked for the right amount of background information (no more and no less) to deliver results. Definitely recommend.
Head of IP Department
Multinational company headquartered in Italy
We have been working with Vaudra for almost a decade and would never use another investigator. Their attention to detail and customer service are unparalleled. Moreover, the cost associated compared to the amount of work they do is relatively low.
IP & Corporate Counsel
Los Angeles, CA
Vaudra is dedicated to understanding your IP protection needs and chasing down every last bit of information required to help the IP owner make the right decision. Vaudra is also my go-to for Customs questions and training information. All brand owners would benefit from having Vaudra as a partner in IP enforcement.
Trademark & Copyright Counsel
The Vaudra team has been a complete pleasure to work with. They have consistently made themselves available for my concerns and questions. Vaudra’s dedication and knowledge to preventing fraudulent online sales has eliminated the counterfeits that I was facing on Amazon.
Director of Sales & Marketing
Manufacturer of woodworking tools
Headquartered in Western North Carolina
Vaudra is the best investigation firm in many ways – especially considering the ease of communication & adapting to our workflows. It is hard to find investigators who offer the white glove service that we provide to our clients, but Vaudra has it in spades.
Partner, Trademark/Copyright Litigation & Brand Enforcement
New York, NY