Protecting your company’s image in the face of brand infringement

Parimatch Sergey Portnov
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One of the main components in building a successful company ensuring you have a strong, identifiable brand. However the unfortunate reality is that scammers often seek to misappropriate the image of established brands. The CIS markets have frequently seen knock-off products sporting an “Addidas” or “Guci” logo and presented below the market price, while similar counterfeit schemes have now become common in all sectors.

Login Casino conducted an exclusive interview with a representative of the international betting company Parimatch to find out how fraudsters operate in the gambling market.

The company recently faced such a brand infringement challenge after competitor Elsots renamed itself to PM Casino. To discuss the issue in detail, we spoke to the CEO of Parimatch Holding, Sergey Portnov.


Login Casino: Looking at brand infringement, what form does it take and what elements of a brand are  “appropriated”?

Parimatch Sergey PortnovSergey Portnov: Fraudsters in our business can easily copy a company’s style, colours, fonts, visual images, website interfaces and everything that is readily available online. They make sure that their promotional materials are very similar to the original, allowing for a slight discrepancy which is invisible to the consumer. That’s why they are easily taken for the legitimate businesses they wish to imitate.


LC: In the case of Parimatch, have you seen repeated attempts to copy your brand by the same group or have they been from multiple parties?

SP: We think that the cases we’ve seen likely involve different people or companies. At the same time, fraudsters often do not just focus their efforts on just one specific product, since the probability of being caught increases when you concentrate on a single brand.


LC: Do you think that the actions of fraudsters are explicitly directed against your company, or are such situations common throughout the wider bookmaking business?

SP: Unfortunately it’s become a standard practice in our industry, especially when we’re talking about established brands.

One example would be Vulcan casino – after the brand became well-established, lots of different, copy-cat Vulcan casino sites sprung-up on the Internet, which had nothing to do with the original owner of that business.

In our case, we can name the website, which copied the style of our website in a blurred form on its registration page.

These guys just took white-label solution and created a website. They used the blurred background of the website, but removed the logo – which in fact, doesn’t break any rules.

That’s one of the ways in which they indirectly exploited our brand. Later, we encountered another website using a different domain which looked exactly like ours and which even used the Parimatch colour-scheme from before our rebranding.


LC: What can a company do to protect its brand from being copied?

SP: To stop it entirely you’d have to shut your business down. Alternatively you can try to keep a lower-profile, but this is also counter-productive and will lose your clients’ trust. Ultimately this is unviable anyway because if you stop developing name-recognition, within a few years another, more visible company will take your place in the market. And at the end of the day, this will not guarantee that scammers will cease their infringement efforts either.

Basically, the stronger a brand is, the more likely it is that malicious people will try to earn money by copying it.


LC: How difficult is it to identify fraudsters and prove they’re responsible for infringing your brand?

SP: It’s very difficult to find out who is ultimately responsible. These people carefully prepare their plans and think every detail through. We rarely come across amateurs, and generally everything that would reveal a copy-cat’s identity is carefully concealed.


LC: Are you planning to take legal action and do you know the identity of the fraudster(s)?

SP: Parimatch`s lawyers are actively working on the issue, and we will take all the steps and measures necessary to resolve it. While we can’t reveal any details at this time, what I can say is that we already have successful experience in dealing with similar challenges and we anticipate a positive outcome in this case too.

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