Software can catch logo thieves

***image1***Like Big Brother maker Endemol, which has just unveiled the TV reality show’s latest ‘eye’ motif, pictured, freelancers are normally keen to see their logos appear on reputable websites.

However use of any logo owned by a business, regardless of its size, sometimes comes with certain terms of how the rights holder wants it to appear on the third-party’s site.

When those terms are not fully met, or if they are initially met but are subsequently ignored, smaller businesses often fail to act because they are unaware the breach has occurred.

Big businesses, in contrast, may have a member of staff in PR and Communications dedicated to spotting third party sites which end up unlawfully using their intellectual property.

But now, thanks to technical innovation, designers and one-man companies alike can catch those who mess with their prized business identity red-handed and in near real-time.

Developed by the London arm of Navigant, a business consultancy, the new tool can recognise fake designs and company motifs currently being used on the internet.

Obtained by the Mail on Sunday, disclosures about the tool, known as AIT, claim it is already in the hands of retailers, lenders and designers.

Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) works by scanning the World Wide Web to reportedly ‘see’ whole or partial copies of company logos and brand names.

As a result, the firm can run a general sweep of the net for offending logos, or investigate a specific case where improper use is suspected in the eyes of the rights holder.

“[The system] breaks down an image into as many as 300 component parts,” Andrew Durrant, the company’s managing director reportedly said.

“It then returns with a percentage ‘score’ for each unauthorised use of that image, depending on how much of the image has been reproduced.”

He singled out manufacturers as having snapped up the system but said that anybody who uses a logo is a potential customer.

The system could also help regulating bodies keep track of who claims to be endorsed by them, especially given bogus claims of approval are now illegal under consumer law.


28th May 2008

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