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Brand protection

Audemars Piguet

How we monitor and analyze domain names reproducing the Audemars Piguet brand in order to protect them from any attempts of scamming by cybersquatters.


Audemars Piguet is an internationally renowned Swiss luxury watch maker, founded in 1875.

Still owned by its founding families, the brand is now facing the challenges and risks inherent to international e-commerce.

The challenge

Vanksen has been supporting Audemars Piguet and its collection of Royal OAK watches for 15 years. Audemars Piguet has been creating luxury watches since 1875. It benefits from a strong online reputation but faces several challenges, which require Vanksen's help:

  •  Monitoring its brand image to ensure it does not become damaged
  •  Protecting itself from the risks of online impersonation and cybersquatting
  •  Detecting fake resellers and gray markets
  •  Identifying unacredited service centers

Therefore, the challenge for Vanksen is to monitor the registration of domain names that relate to the Audemars Piguet and Royal Oak trademarks. The detected domain names either are identical to, include or are similar to one of the trademarks.

These are the most cybersquatted of the 50 brands monitored by Vansken. This high number of cases is due to the fame of Audemars Piguet as a luxury brand, which creates highly coveted items, while fake retailers constantly seek new domain names to cybersquat.

The project and its results

Vanksen works with Audemars Piguet on:

  •  Domain name management
  •  Weekly monitoring of all domain name registrations that feature any of the trademarks:
    • Identical (AudemarsPiguet, Royal OAK)
    • Content-based (AudemarsPiguet-watches for example)
    • Approximate (e.g. AudernarsPiguet or AudemarPiguet)

To achieve this, Vanksen analyses every domain name registry database (country code extensions, generic extensions and new extensions) to search for a character string that corresponds to the Audemars Piguet and/or Royal OAK labels.

As soon as the fraudulent use of a domain name is detected, Vanksen informs the client.

Our recommendations lead to several responses that address Audemars Piguet's expectations and needs:

  •  The fake site is taken down after we contact the host and, when necessary, other related parties
  •  Recovering this domain name, either anonymously or by legal means (such as via the UDRP)
  •  Blacklisting domain names with the client’s messaging servers

The level of action taken depends on the extent of damage to the domain name we detect.

Vanksen analyses the status of several hundred historically detected domain names for these trademarks on a monthly basis, then verifies the evolution of the infringement.

If the danger has increased, Vanksen reviews its recommendations and acts accordingly.

Fun fact

In 2016, Vanksen detected the web address, which was being registered by a Chinese registrar. Behind this act of cybersquatting was a sponsored link page, but no MX server, meaning there was no e-mail address associated with the domain name.

Since the detection, Vanksen has been monitoring this domain name on a monthly basis, in order to identify any status change (redirection, holder, MX server, ...) and to ensure that it is not being used for selling of counterfeited goods. We are also attentive to other illegal e-mail activities, such as the impersonation of the CEO requesting money transfers.