Counterfeiting on the global level-An overview

Counterfeiting or duplication is a growing problem across the world. It badly affects the government, businesses, and consumers. People across the world are suffering from the menace of duplicate products which is regularly authenticated by different reports and news coming from different parts of the world.

Market experts believe that the growing globalization is the main reason behind rampant duplication. They say that in order to increase their manufacturing capacity and hire cheap labor big companies shifted their base to developing and third world countries. However, the major problem in these areas was that of lack of anti-duplication regulation and poor IP laws.

This made the way for counterfeiters and they were easily able to steal technology to manufacture duplicate goods. With the passage of time, they became more organized and took counterfeiting on a much larger scale.

According to a report by OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) United States, Italy, France, Switzerland, Japan, and Germany are the hardest hit countries, with the majority (83%) of fake goods originating (not surprisingly) from China and Hong Kong. European brands are among the most impacted, with an estimated 5% of all goods imported into the European Union (EU) being fake. This represents as much as $118 billion.

With the growth and penetration of internet technology counterfeits are now being sold on different internet platforms. According to the International Trademark Association, “Criminals prefer to sell counterfeits on the Internet for many reasons. They can hide behind the anonymity of the Internet with the Dark Web even their IP addresses can be hidden. The Internet gives them the reach to sell to consumers globally-outside of the national limits of law enforcement.”

The global problem of counterfeiting must be addressed on multiple fronts with collaborative efforts of the government, industry players and anti-counterfeiting solution providers.

New invisible nano ink may help in preventing counterfeiting

Duplicating and counterfeiting of goods is a growing problem across the world. Different anti-counterfeiting measures like printing barcodes or holograms can prevent counterfeiting of products.

Now nanotechnology may provide a solution to get rid of the menace of counterfeiting. The technology depends on the changes that happen in nanoparticles when subjected to certain conditions. These changes can be easily identified but the technology is difficult to copy or replicate.

Recently, researchers at the Advanced Polymer and Nanomaterial Laboratory (APNL) Tezpur University have developed a new, light emitting nanocomposite-based ink that is not visible under light but can be detected when kept under an ultra-violet light. The ink is quite useful in preventing counterfeiting on paper and plastic.

Niranjan Karak, Group Leader of APNL said, “The nanocomposite has an intricate structure to prevent imitation. By dispersing it in organic solvents like xylene, it transforms into an ink that can be used to mark a label. The liquid appears pale-yellow under visible light and glows with a cyan tint when exposed to UV light of specific length.”

The performance of the ink was tested by writing a few letters on paper and plastic. It was found that the letters were not visible in daylight, whereas when kept under UV light, it glowed with a cyan hue.

For convenience the ink can be loaded into the refill of a sketch or gel pen and has a shelf life of up to ten years and degrades in a few months only under the action of soil microbes.

Source: thehindubusinessline

Cosmetic products in UK are the most counterfeited goods

According to a recent survey by global investigation firm Kroll, perfume and cosmetic products are the most counterfeited goods in the UK. The report states that cosmetic or beauty products were the sixth most counterfeited products after toys, chargers, clothing, bags and sports shoes.

The firm stated that duplicate consumer products are a growing part of the global economy and pose a risk to the economy and consumers. The outcomes of the counterfeit goods are dangerous and have many negative effects.

Benedict Hamilton, Managing Director at Kroll said, “We have seen how the counterfeiting of seemingly harmless clothing items such as jeans and t-shirts is actively contributing to the financing of global terrorist activity, so in addition to consumers’ health, there is also the broader world impact to consider.”

He also said that counterfeits don’t begin and end with the seller on the street; there is an entire supply chain in operation to create bogus goods and to stem the flow, we need to find the source.

On tackling the counterfeit goods, he said, “Only by following the chain of fake goods all the way up to those producing them and raising awareness of the problem, will we be able to safeguard against the potential dangers posed by counterfeits.”

Source: cosmeticsbusiness.com

The link between counterfeiting and organized crime

International law enforcement and market experts have established a close link between counterfeiting and other forms of criminal activities. It has been found that the counterfeiting business helps criminals to fuel other illegal activities and vice-versa. EUROPOL (European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation) has even warned that counterfeiting is an increasingly attractive avenue for organized crime syndicates to diversify and increase their illicit businesses.

It has also been found that counterfeiters use similar routes and modus operandi to supply counterfeit goods as they do to smuggle drugs, firearms and human trafficking. Profits from other crimes and illicit activities also help in the production and distribution of counterfeit goods. Many reports from different countries have established the fact that profits from crimes like drug trafficking and other crimes were used to promote the business of counterfeiting and, similarly proceeds from the sale of duplicate goods were used to promote the criminal’s other illicit activities.

One of the main reasons why criminals choose counterfeiting over other criminal activities is due to its favourable ratio between potential profits and possible risks. According to Executive Director, UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) Yuri Fedotov, “In comparison to other crimes such as drug trafficking, the production and distribution of counterfeit goods present a low-risk/high-profit opportunity for criminals. Counterfeiting feeds money laundering activities and encourages corruption. There is also evidence of some involvement or overlap with drug trafficking and other serious crimes.”

As per trade, reports counterfeiting is now placed amongst the highest income sources for organized criminal activities. Counterfeiting or duplication also helps in money laundering by providing a platform through which criminal organization can invest the proceeds of their illicit activities. In a nutshell, organized crime syndicates use counterfeiting as a medium to optimize their other criminal activities.

Countries involved in counterfeiting of US goods

One of the biggest reasons behind the US-China trade war is due to China’s involvement in the practice of unfair trading practices and IP theft to make counterfeit and cheap goods. The biggest hints of counterfeit items are that their prices are too good to be true. The total value of counterfeit items had a value of $1.2 billion.

The enforcement of IP laws is done by US Customs and Border Protection and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Homeland Security’s investigations branch is involved in bringing down the financial and welfare risks caused due to imports of such illicit products. Let’s have a look at the product seizures that violated US trademarks and copyrights across the world.

  • China: 48%
  • Hong Kong: 39%
  • Turkey: 2%
  • Canada: 2%
  • Taiwan: 2%
  • All others: 8%

Positive move

In the 1980s, China became a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization and began to strengthen its intellectual property framework and enact related laws. China stated in recent trade talks that its intellectual property royalties paid to the U.S. surged from $3.46 billion in 2011 to $7.2 billion in 2018.

What’s getting counterfeited?

The seizures of ripped-off intellectual property in the U.S. is only a fraction of all that is sold worldwide. The total seizures of counterfeit goods in the fiscal year 2017, with a retail value of $1.2 billion, down from the fiscal year 2016 seizures that totalled $1.38 billion.

International Patents

According to the World Intellectual Property Organization, the U.S. and China file the most international patents under the Patent Cooperation Treaty.

Source: ocregister.com

FICCI welcomes U.S Government’s action against counterfeits

The US President Donald Trump recently signed a memorandum on combatting the trafficking of counterfeit and pirated goods which will stop the sales of fake goods, especially on e-commerce platforms. In a statement applauding the work of US government, FICCI said that the Department of Homeland Security along with the Commerce Department, the federal agencies will create a report to curb fake goods in American marketplace within 201 days.

The report will determine the data, factors, market incentives and distortions which lead third-parties to involve in the trafficking of fake and pirated goods.

According to a study released by OECD, the business of fake and pirated products represents 3.3% of the global trade. The study also explains that the share of counterfeits has grown significantly posing a risk to the global economy. FICCI has been addressing the menace of illicit trade with regards to duplication, smuggling and piracy through its initiative CASCADE (Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy).

While speaking on the development Anil Rajput, Chairman FICCI CASCADE said, “This is a proactive step taken by the US President to curb the menace arising out of sale of counterfeits which adversely impacts the legal industry, government revenue and the health and safety of the people. Illicit trade also fuels organized crime. It threatens peace and stability worldwide, and hence all countries across the world must address the matter on war footing.”

FICCI CASCADE works in coordination with government, industry, enforcement agencies, media, legal experts and consumer organizations to develop awareness on counterfeiting and smuggling.

Source: Outlook India

kenyan government

Kenyan Government reveals name of four most counterfeited items

According to the latest report by Anti-counterfeits Agency, three-quarters of Kenyans use duplicate goods. The Kenyan government bureau states that the most copied goods in the market ate mobile phones at 51.8 per cent and alcohol at 30.8 per cent. In the list, DVD items are on the third spot at 26.4 per cent while bottled water comes on fourth with 24 per cent.

Besides these products other commonly duplicated goods are toners, software, accessories and lubricants. The report also revealed that out of the 70 per cent people who use low-grade products, 19 per cent purchase the goods knowingly whereas 49.6 per cent said that they bought the goods as they were cheap.

An additional 17.3 per cent of the consumers were looking for genuine products but couldn’t find them while 18.3 per cent were not aware of the issues.

ACA chairperson Flora Mutahi said that duplication included branding & trademark manipulation, misspelling of names and copying of colouring. She revealed that the Kenyan government has confiscated goods worth Ksh 8.5 billion in the last few months.

She stated the country loses an estimated Ksh200 billion annually due to trade in counterfeit products. “Kenya is indeed ahead of its counterparts in the fight against counterfeits, but manned land borders open the country to illicit trade,” remarked ACA chief executive Elema Halake.

Source: kenyans.co.ke

 

Indian markets of counterfeit goods-destroying businesses and brands

One of the biggest reasons for the sale of counterfeit goods are their low prices compared to the original items. Whether it’s a designer bag or a diamond-studded watch one can easily buy their cheap replicas. Experts have revealed that the replicas of luxury goods are sold at 1/4th of the original price. Such counterfeit goods are sold at different markets situated in different cities of India and are quite a rage among shopping lovers. However, these markets are quite detrimental to the original brands and their outlets. Let’s know about the market locations popular for the sale of counterfeit goods.

Ghaffar market in Delhi

Delhi accounts for the sale of 75 % of counterfeit goods in India. We also did a blog earlier on the counterfeit good markets of Delhi. Although there are many big and small hubs for duplicate products in the capital, Ghaffar Market catches the attention of every counterfeit lover. You can find here cheap copies of brands like Gucci, Tiffany, Burberry quite easily. Apart from clothes the place also caters fake electronics, cosmetics and other items.

Brigade Road in Bangalore

The IT city of Bangalore has a range of counterfeit items at the Brigade Road market in Bangalore. You can specifically ask here for cheap copies of original products from the suppliers which are usually kept hidden due to the fear of government raids.

Linking Road and Heera Panna market in Mumbai

The tinsel town equally suffers from the menace of counterfeiting. Mumbai has different markets with all kinds of counterfeit products. Linking road is one of the most prominent locations popular for cheap replicas of renowned luxury brands like Michael Kors, Louis Vuitton etc. Another prominent location for counterfeit items is the Heera Panna market in Haji Ali, Mumbai. The place is a hub of first copy luxury watches. Besides watches, you can also find electronics, perfumes and shoes at this place.

Vardaan market and new market in Kolkata

The business hub of the east and once the seat of British monarchy Kolkata has sprawling markets which offer all kinds of items for young and old. Due to the craze for shopping, the middle-class Kolkatans have resorted to buying counterfeit items. This has given way to the establishment of a growing counterfeit industry which runs from different hubs in the city. Vardaan market is one such place where you can get the best copy of anything. Another popular destination for fake products is the new market where you can find replicas of luxurious products. It is better to accompany a person who has prior knowledge of such places so that you may not find it tough to bargain or assess the quality of products.