Brand reputation issues arise as mobile app numbers soar

Mobile apps can impact brand reputation. To counter threats, CSC launches new app monitoring and portfolio management service.

The rise of the smartphone has brought with it the era of the app. In 2013 vendors shipped more than a billion smartphones and became the majority of new mobile phones in the market. The average smartphone user downloads 26 apps creating a lot of new interaction with games, news, tools, businesses, and sports clubs. Anyone with a little knowledge or a bit of cash can create or commission an app. In fact, Apple and Google’s app stores combined now offer about 1.5 million apps between them. Not all of them are what they seem to be.

[pullquote] Indeed, the rise of the app
has serious implications for brands
and their IP. [/pullquote]

Indeed, the rise of the app has serious implications for brands and their IP, bringing opportunities and risk in equal measure. Research company Gartner predicts that global app revenues will exceed $25 billion this year. With numbers of this size, the exploitation of brands on mobile apps will undoubtedly increase. It affords another opportunity for the unscrupulous to exploit consumers for profit, or for others with good, but misplaced, intentions to infringe IP. Brand protection has entered another dimension.

At CSC, we’ve now brought our expertise in monitoring, protecting and enforcing brand rights to the mobile app space. At the International Trademark Association conference in Hong Kong this week, we launched our new mobile app monitoring and management services. We understand how time-consuming and difficult it is for brand owners – particularly global brand owners – to police their brand across multiple products and multiple markets. There’s a human dimension to this, as well as a technological one. When enthusiastic teams in large organizations decide their new initiative needs an app (one hears the phrase “we should have an app!” in countless meetings these days) it can become almost impossible to control the brand’s mobile app portfolio.  We examine the protocols and processes that should be in place, as well as monitor the key app marketplaces for infringements.

This is a key time for brands to take control of their IP rights on mobile apps. Tablets and smartphones are becoming ubiquitous. That will only create further opportunities for brand exploitation.