The problem of counterfeiting has turned into a menace and is prevalent everywhere. It is increasing day by day causing brands and consumers big bucks. Counterfeiting essentially means creating fakes or duplicates of original branded products, pertaining to any and every field. Fake knock outs can range from products such as handbags and cosmetics to medicines and drugs.
We live in a world where almost every product present in the market can be counterfeited and counterfeiting prevails everywhere. Markets across borders are filled with counterfeited products, be it an under developed, developing or developed nations.
According to FBI, Interpol, World Customs Organization and International Chamber of Commerce estimates, roughly 7-8% of world trade every year is in forged goods. Counterfeiting is no less than any other organised form of crime that exists in the world and hence, requires immediate attention.
The brand identity is quintessentially the intellectual property of a brand or product and stealing the same is not less than any form of crime. Hence, counterfeiting has become a rising threat for many brands and products and bigger the brand more are the odds of fakes being made.
The spectrum of counterfeited products varies from cigarettes, precious stones to pharmaceuticals. You see fake Ferrari’s and Porches’ on the streets of Bangkok. The ever-improving international supply chains do nothing but add fuel to the fire by making it easier to transport knock offs. Taking into consideration the popularity of a brand and the customer base, the bigger the brand, bigger are the chances of counterfeiting.
The urge and the desire amongst the population to own products from such popular brands is one of the major factors which leads to creation of duplicates or fakes. The most counterfeited are not the big and luxury labels but brands which are most widespread and prevalent amongst the consumers.
According to a latest study by Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the world’s most counterfeited brand is not a Louis Vuitton or a Rolex but Nike. The study was based on about half a million customs seizures throughout the world between 2010 and 2013. The report also states that the total counterfeit value in the year 2013 across borders was $461 billion in the year 2013. Also, the total loss faced by countries around the world is $600 billion, with the United States facing the most economic impact.
Most counterfeit goods are produced and manufactured in China, making it the counterfeit capital of the world. In fact, the counterfeiting industry accounts for 8% of China’s GDP.
The report also brought upfront starling facts such as medicines being counterfeited across the world. Also, the category which had the maximum amounts of fakes being made was not handbags or apparels but footwear.
Additionally, Kenyan cigarette brand SuperMatch is the most counterfeited brand in the world in terms of the actual number of units impounded.
Further, big brands from various categories face the problem of counterfeiting, ranging from luxury labels to regular premium brands. To name a few, the most counterfeited brands in addition to Nike across the world are: Burberry, Mac Cosmetics, Samsung, Bvlgari, Apple, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Rolex, Adidas, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci, Ray Ban, Walt Disney, Coach, Levi’s, Hermes etc.
Not to forget even medicines and drugs contribute to this list and products such as Viagra (Erectile dysfunction Drug), LIPITOR (Cholesterol-lowering statin drug), CIALIS (Erectile dysfunction Drug) and Tamiflu (swine flu drug) are one of the most counterfeited products in the world.
The core reason of fakes being produced is the high demand of such products from the consumers worldwide. The desire and the aspiration to have a better lifestyle and an uplifted social status again leads to an increase in demand of fake products and hence enabling counterfeiting to be persistent.
From the manufacturer’s point of view, fakes of extravagance brands don’t require much push to be sold, nor do they require much money to be fabricated. Another reason for consumption of such products is the high level of illiteracy and unawareness amongst the consumers.
The shift of much of the world’s manufacturing to countries with poor protection of intellectual property has provided both the technology and the opportunity to make knock-offs. But, it is very important to defeat and eradicate this practice as it poses multiple threats to people who need to be made aware and the interests of both the consumers and the producers need to be safeguarded.
There are numerous weapons that brands can use to combat counterfeiting but a lack of awareness often results in failure to do so. Some of these easy solutions are tax stamps, Holographic boards, 3D Holographic stickers and paper labels to name a few.
These are some basic yet advanced techniques to develop authentication, anti-counterfeiting and anti-tampering solutions. This helps in distinguishing between fake and original products as they cannot be replicated and give the products a unique identity and are easily verifiable.
Counterfeiting does prevail everywhere, but with the right counter measures and awareness it can be defeated.
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