Brand Protection & Counterfeit Product Investigation

Matrix Intelligence were engaged by a global tobacco firm to assist with their brand protection strategy and investigate the presence of counterfeit product within each country in which they operated.

We targeted Germany, Poland and Sweden and commenced by ascertaining how their clients procured their product. Each country was different, with a mixture of online and over-the-counter purchases and recreational use of their product in specialist cafes.

We devised a blended strategy, which entailed establishing a fake online company to pose as a large buyer on online forums, whilst simultaneously conducting on the ground investigations and discreet site visits to re-sellers within each country. We also spoke with the police and customs authorities in each country.

Outcome

Our investigations enabled us to identify several major suppliers of counterfeit product and track the source of the product back to a tobacco factory in Ukraine. Furthermore, we established that the criminals were managing to circumvent the company’s brand protection measures, because company employees were actively colluding with them.

We produced a detailed report of our findings for the client which enabled them to engage with the authorities in each country to report the criminal activity and also to review the company’s internal protocols to prevent further employee collusion.

Working with Matrix Intelligence

Prior to informing your legal team, the police and/or regulatory authorities, it is often beneficial to first understand what exactly you are dealing with. You can then make an informed decision as to how best to proceed. Immediate financial losses aside, acting quickly is key to minimising any potential reputational damage and/or impact upon your clients or associates.

Matrix Intelligence are specialists in conducting sensitive and discreet investigations.