Tech startup BrandBounty on Monday sought to enlist smartphone users around the world in a \"crowd-sourced\" battle against knock-off goods and pirated digital content. The creators of BrandBounty, which launched earlier this year, were at a TechCrunch Disrupt gathering of technology startups in San Francisco to show off an application they designed to transform \"consumers into brand vigilantes.\" The application makes a game of sorts out of exposing counterfeit goods. People can score points and win prizes by using smartphones to submit pictures, descriptions or other \"tips\" about apparent knock-offs or piracy. Brands sponsor contests or reward programs and get any resulting real-time intelligence about possible abuses in the market. \"The age-old problem with brand enforcement is a lack of eyes in the ground,\" said Jonathan Gonen, co-founder of the company born out of a Los Angeles-based accelerator called StartupMinds. \"With BrandBounty, we now have a simple, fun, and effective solution that turns smart consumers into brand watchdogs.\" Counterfeiting and piracy cost the US economy an estimated $1.2 to $1.7 trillion dollars last year, according to Gonen. A version of BrandBounty was available at the App Store for Apple gadgets with applications tailored for Android smartphones to be available in the coming months.