OEKO-TEX® invests in brand protection and partners with SENTRYC

Companies and consumers around the world rely on the OEKO-TEX® brand. To maintain this trust, the organisation is constantly investing in its brand protection. Since early 2021, OEKO-TEX® has partnered with Berlin-based brand protection company SENTRYC, whose software tracks brand abuse and plagiarism on social media platforms and online marketplaces. The partnership is positioned in time to handle the increased trademark infringements that come with the peak online shopping season between Black Friday and Christmas.

Market trust of key importance

For almost three decades, OEKO-TEX® has stood for transparency along the international textile and leather supply chains as well as for consumer protection, product safety and trust. Over 21,000 manufacturers, brands and retailers in more than 100 countries officially work with OEKO-TEX®. In the past financial year, almost 32,000 labels and certificates were issued, covering countless products. "The trust that the market places in our system is of central importance to us," says OEKO-TEX® Secretary General Georg Dieners. "OEKO-TEX® continuously works to ensure the highest quality assurance - including with digital methods and external partnerships." In order to protect the quality of the OEKO- TEX® brand and thereby ensure its credibility, the organisation takes action against legal infringements. Since March 2021, thousands of potential misuse cases have been discovered and resolved using the SENTRYC brand protection software.

Transparency never takes a break

SENTRYC constantly monitors more than 120 international online marketplaces and all leading social networks. Based on machine learning, the software's search algorithm combines relevant keywords, detailed descriptions and images to find potential violations. Manipulated images, photos of counterfeits or products and logos as well as suspicious links and hashtags are automatically matched.

In addition, OEKO-TEX® can use the SENTRYC take-down button to decide which potential counterfeits or trademark infringements should be removed. In the best case, these disappear within 24 hours. Automation rules help to avoid targeting licensed partners or to permanently ban problematic platforms. 

For possible prosecutions, the software documents all relevant data including screenshots of the suspicious content. "We want to help create more transparency and give companies a tool they can use to defend themselves internationally," says Nicole Hofmann, CEO of SENTRYC. "I see our commitment to finding counterfeit products and making removal as easy as possible as a social duty."

Trademark protection concerns everyone

Trademark protection means consumer protection. It has become increasingly difficult to detect plagiarism and other trademark infringements. The production and distribution of counterfeits often takes place within organised crime structures that affect the entire supply chain - from raw materials procurement to distribution - usually under precarious conditions for people and the environment and with health consequences for consumers. This is because counterfeit textiles in particular can contain harmful substances beyond the legal limits and the even stricter OEKO-TEX® Standards. Anyone who buys counterfeit products, whether consciously or unconsciously, can endanger their own health, in addition to human rights and climate protection.

The issue is fuelled by the rapid increase in online shopping. Last year alone, worldwide customers spent around 2,900 billion US dollars online. In Europe, digital sales are expected to increase another 42% by 2025. The accelerating and extensive development of online trade means urgent protection against counterfeits and poor quality is needed. Therefore OEKO-TEX® values SENTRYC as a partner for constant and global monitoring, especially during the online shopping boom of the season. Analysis from SENTRYC confirms that the number of fake offers on online marketplaces increases by about 60% between September and November, compared to other months.

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