Here is a quick and slightly tongue-in-cheek list of five subtleties you may not have appreciated relating to fake goods.
1. In certain circumstances, it is perfectly legal to make replicas. That might be in situations where there is no original copyright/patent (e.g. antiques) or where you have the brand owner’s permission. It only becomes an offence if you deliberately misrepresent the replica during a sale as being original.
2. Huge volumes of counterfeit goods are traded honestly. The ‘honestly’ referred to here relates to the fact that the vendor may genuinely believe that they purchased a correct article and are trying to sell it on in total ignorance of the fact that it is actually a fake. In spite of their genuine lack of awareness, they may still be committing an offence.
3. Some fake goods are so realistic that it takes the legitimate manufacturer an in-depth laboratory examination to establish whether it is really one of their products are not. Given that reality, it shows the in feasibility of expecting consumers to identify fakes based on a retail-type visual inspection only.
4. In spite of the best efforts of law enforcement agencies across the globe, only a relatively small percentage of faked goods are ever seized. For example, in the USA in 2014, approximately $502 million of fake watches were confiscated. That sounds impressive, until you examine related statistics which indicate it was only approximately 29% of the total value of counterfeit watches sold in the USA that same year.
5. Increasingly, entire classes of item are having their values destroyed in the marketplace because of the fact that consumers do not (or cannot) trust the thing they are looking at to be genuine. This is having a major impact on the revenue streams of some businesses.
So, brand protection is important and needs to be taken seriously!