Counterfeit consumer goods are goods, often of inferior quality, made
or sold under another's brand name without the brand owner’s
authorization. Sellers of such goods may infringe on either the trade
mark, patent or copyright of the brand owner by passing off its goods
as made by the brand owner.:3
The term knockoff is often used interchangeably with "counterfeit",
although their legal meanings are not identical. A "knockoff" is a
colloquial term which describes products that copy or imitate the
physical appearance of other products but which do not copy the brand
name or logo of a trademark. They may, or may not, be illegal under
trademark laws. Such products are considered illegal when they are
intended to confuse consumers. A person can be a counterfeiter even if
they don't make the products but knowingly sell them to others.
Another overlapping term is pirated goods, which generally refers to
copying copyrighted products without permission, such as music, movies
and software.:96 Exact definitions are determined by the laws of
Growing over 10,000% in the last two decades, counterfeit products
exist in virtually every industry sector, including food, beverages,
apparel, accessories, footwear, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics,
electronics, auto parts, toys, and currency. The spread of counterfeit
goods is worldwide, and in 2008 a study by the International Chamber
of Commerce (ICC) estimated the global value of all counterfeit goods
reached $650 billion every year, doubling the estimated annual profit
made from the sale of illegal drugs worldwide according to data
collected by Illicit Trade Monitor. The same study projected that in
2015 the upper bound of the global value of counterfeit and pirated
goods could be $1.77 trillion, a number that is roughly equal to the
GDP of Brazil.
Counterfeit products make up 5 to 7% of world
trade and have cost an estimated 2.5 million jobs worldwide,
with between 130,000 and 750,000 jobs lost in the U.S. alone.
Government Accountability Office
Government Accountability Office found that many
estimated figures were unreliable.
1.1 General description
1.2 Apparel and accessories
1.7.1 United States
1.11 Military items
2.1 United States
Stop Online Piracy Act
Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)
2.3 Human rights laws
Internet shopping sites
2.5 Social media platforms
3 Anti-counterfeiting packaging
4 See also
5 Further reading
7 External links
Growth in seizures of counterfeit goods by U.S.
According to the OECD, counterfeit products encompass all products
made to closely imitate the appearance of the product of another as to
mislead consumers. Those can include the unauthorized production and
distribution of products that are protected by intellectual property
rights, such as copyright, trademarks, and trade names. Counterfeiters
illegally copy trademarks, which manufacturers have built up based on
marketing investments and the recognized quality of their products, in
order to fool consumers.
In many cases, different types of infringements overlap: unauthorized
music copying mostly infringes copyright as well as trademarks; fake
toys infringe design protection. The term "counterfeiting" therefore
addresses the related issues of copying packaging, labelling, or any
other significant features of the goods.
Among the leading industries that have been seriously affected by
counterfeiting are software, music recordings, motion pictures, luxury
goods and fashion clothes, sportswear, perfumes, toys, aircraft
components, spare parts and car accessories, and pharmaceuticals.
Since counterfeits are produced illegally, they are often not
manufactured to comply with relevant safety standards. They will often
use cheap, hazardous and unapproved materials or cut costs in some
other manner. These unapproved materials can be hazardous to
consumers, or the environment.
Apparel and accessories
Counterfeit Rolex watches
Rayban, Rolex, and Louis Vuitton are the most copied brands worldwide,
with Nike being the most counterfeited brand globally according to the
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Counterfeit clothes, shoes, jewelry and handbags from designer brands
are made in varying quality; sometimes the intent is only to fool the
gullible buyer who only looks at the label and does not know what the
real thing looks like, while others put some serious effort into
mimicking fashion details. Others realize that most consumers do not
care if the goods they buy are counterfeit and just wish to purchase
inexpensive products. The popularity of designer jeans in 1978,
spurred a flood of knockoffs. Factories that manufacture counterfeit
designer brand garments and watches are usually located in developing
countries, with between 85-95% of all counterfeit goods coming from
China. International tourists visiting Beijing, China, may find a
wide selection of counterfeit designer brand garments at the Silk
Street. Expensive watches are vulnerable to counterfeiting as well. In
Vietnam and the Philippines, authentic looking but
poor quality watch fakes with self-winding mechanisms and fully
working movements can sell for as little as USD $20 to good quality
ones that sell for $100 and over. Also, some fakes' movements and
materials are of remarkably passable quality – albeit inconsistently
so – and may look good and work well for some years, a possible
consequence of increasing competition within the counterfeiting
community. Some counterfeiters have begun to manufacture their goods
in the same factory as the authentic goods. Yuandan goods is a term
used to describe those fakes that are produced in the same factory as
legitimate designer pieces without authorized permission to do so.
These goods are made from scraps and leftover materials from the
genuine products, produced illegally and sold on the black market.
Thailand has opened a Museum of
Counterfeit Goods displaying over
4,000 different items, in 14 different categories, which violate
trademarks, patents, or copyrights. The oldest museum of this kind
is located in Paris and is known as Musée de la Contrefaçon.
Intel flash memory IC (right) and its counterfeit replica
(left). Although the packaging of these ICs are the same, an X-ray
image reveals that the inside structure of the fake one is
Counterfeit electronic components have proliferated in recent years,
including integrated circuits (ICs), relays, circuit breakers, fuses,
ground fault receptacles, and cable assemblies, as well as connectors.
The value of counterfeit electronic components is estimated to total
2% of global sales or $460 billion in 2011.
have been reverse-engineered (also called a Chinese Blueprint due to
its prevalence in China) to produce a product that looks identical and
performs like the original, and able to pass physical and electrical
tests. Incidents involving counterfeit ICs has led to the
Department of Defense and
NASA to create programs to identify bogus
parts and prevent them from entering the supply chain. "A failed
connector can shut down a satellite as quickly as a defective IC,"
states product director Robert Hult. Such bogus electronics also
pose a significant threat to various sectors of the economy. They
undermine the security and reliability of critical business systems
which can cause massive losses in revenue to companies and damage
their reputation. They can also pose major threats to health and
safety, as when an implanted heart pacemaker stops, an auto
braking system (ABS) fails, or a cell phone battery explodes.
In the early to mid-2010s, counterfeit smartphones and tablets from
Vietnam, China, South Korea and Thailand, became
popular in South East Asia and India. Most/all of the counterfeit
smartphones and tablets ran on system-on-chips (such as those from
MediaTek) rather than the original and proprietary components used.
They can be found easily on some online websites (notably DHgate),
vendors' night markets (in some countries) and street markets.
Packaging, branding, and features can also be very different from the
Compact Discs, videotapes and DVDs, computer software and other media
that are easily copied can be counterfeited and sold through vendors
at street markets, night markets, mail order, and numerous
Internet sources, including open auction sites like eBay. In some
cases where the counterfeit media has packaging good enough to be
mistaken for the genuine product, it is sometimes sold as such. Music
enthusiasts may use the term "bootleg recording" to differentiate
otherwise unavailable recordings from counterfeited copies of
commercially released material. In August 2011, it was reported that
at least 22 fake Apple Computer stores were operating in parts of
China, despite others having been shut down in the past by authorities
at other locations. The following month, also in China, it was
discovered that people were attempting to re-create the popular mobile
Angry Birds into a theme park without permission from its Finnish
copyright or trademark owners.
Australian toy manufacturer
Moose Toys have experienced problems with
counterfeiting of their popular
Shopkins toys from around
mid-2015, and a number of YouTube videos have surfaced from
customers who have received counterfeit
Shopkins (including a few
user-created guides to help identify such counterfeits), along
with a guide from the manufacturer to help collectors and others
identify counterfeit and genuine Shopkins.
According to the U.S. FBI, the counterfeiting of pharmaceuticals
accounts for an estimated $600 billion in global trade, and may be the
"crime of the 21st century." They add that it "poses significant
adverse health and economic consequences for individuals and
corporations alike." The
World Health Organization
World Health Organization (WHO) estimates
that over 30% of pharmaceuticals in developing countries are fake,
stating that "Anyone, anywhere in the world, can come across medicines
seemingly packaged in the right way but which do not contain the
correct ingredients and, in the worst-case scenario, may be filled
with highly toxic substances.” The U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) describes counterfeit drugs as those sold under a
product name without proper authorization:
"Counterfeiting can apply to both brand name and generic products,
where the identity of the source is mislabeled in a way that suggests
that it is the authentic approved product.
Counterfeit products may
include products without the active ingredient, with an insufficient
or excessive quantity of the active ingredient, with the wrong active
ingredient, or with fake packaging."
Experts estimate that counterfeit medications kill at least 700,000
people a year, mostly in undeveloped countries. According to
The Economist, between 15%-30% of antibiotic drugs in Africa and
South-East Asia are fake, while the UN estimates that roughly half of
the antimalarial drugs sold in Africa—worth some $438m a year—are
Pfizer Pharmaceuticals has found fake versions of at least 20 of its
products, such as
Viagra and Lipitor, in the legitimate supply chains
of at least 44 countries. Pfizer also found that nearly 20% of
Europeans had obtained medicines through illicit channels, amounting
to $12.8 billion in sales. Other experts estimate the global market
for fake medications could be worth between $75 billion and $200
billion a year, as of 2010.
Other prescription drugs that have been counterfeited are Plavix, used
to treat blood clots,
Zyprexa for schizophrenia, Casodex, used to
treat prostate cancer, Tamiflu, used to treat influenza, including
Swine flu, and Aricept, used to treat Alzheimers. The EU reported
that as of 2005
India was by far the biggest supplier of fake drugs,"
accounting for 75 percent of the global cases of counterfeit medicine.
Another 7% came from
Egypt and 6% from China. Those involved in their
production and distribution include "medical professionals" such as
corrupt pharmacists and physicians, organized crime syndicates, rogue
pharmaceutical companies, corrupt local and national officials, and
Food fraud, "the intentional adulteration of food with cheaper
ingredients for economic gain," is a well-documented crime that has
existed in the U.S. and Europe for many decades. It has only received
more attention in recent years as the fear of bioterrorism has
increased. Numerous cases of intentional food fraud have been
discovered over the last few years. As of 2013, the foods most
commonly listed as adulterated or mislabelled in the United States
Pharmacopeia Convention's Food Fraud Database were: milk, olive oil,
honey, saffron, fish, coffee, orange juice, apple juice, black pepper,
In 2008, U.S. consumers were "panicked" and a "media firestorm" ensued
when Chinese milk was discovered to have been adulterated with the
chemical melamine, to make milk appear to have a higher protein
content in government tests. It caused 900 infants to be hospitalized
with six deaths.
In 2007, the
University of North Carolina
University of North Carolina found that 77 percent of
fish labeled as red snapper was actually tilapia, a common and less
flavorful species. The
Chicago Sun-Times tested fish at 17 sushi
restaurants found that fish being sold as red snapper actually was
mostly tilapia. Other inspections uncovered catfish being sold as
grouper, which normally sells for nearly twice as much as catfish.
Fish is the most frequently faked food Americans buy, which includes
"...selling a cheaper fish, such as pen-raised Atlantic salmon, as
wild Alaska salmon." In one test,
Consumer Reports found that less
than half of supposedly "wild-caught" salmon sold in 2005-2006 were
actually wild, and the rest were farmed.
French cognac was discovered to have been adulterated with brandy, and
their honey was mixed with cheaper sugars, such as high-fructose corn
In 2008, U.S. food safety officers seized more than 10,000 cases of
counterfeit extra virgin olive oil, worth more than $700,000, from
warehouses in New York and New Jersey. Olive oil is considered one
of the most frequently counterfeited food products, according to the
FDA, with one study finding that a lot of products labeled as
"extra-virgin olive oil" actually contained up to 90% soybean oil.
From 2010 until 2012 the conservation group Oceana analyzed 1,200
seafood samples from 674 retail outlets in 21 U.S. states. A third of
the samples contained the DNA of a different type of fish to the one
stated on the product label. They found that fish with high levels
of mercury such as tilefish and king mackerel were being passed off as
relatively safe fish like grouper. Snapper (87%) and tuna (59%) were
the most commonly mislabeled species.
Genetic testing by the
Boston Globe in 2011 found widespread
mislabelling of fish served in area restaurants.
The Food and Drug Administration, the primary regulatory body for food
safety and enforcement in the United States, admits that the "sheer
magnitude of the potential crime" makes prevention difficult, along
with the fact that food safety is not treated as a high priority. They
note that with more than 300 ports of entry through which 13 percent
of America's food supply passes, the FDA is only able to inspect about
2 percent of that food.
New U.S. seafood tracing regulations were announced by the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 2015.
Food counterfeiting is a serious threat in Europe, especially for
countries with a high number of trademark products such as Italy. In
2005, EU customs seized more than 75 million counterfeited goods,
including foods, medicines and other goods, partly due to internet
sales. More than 5 million counterfeit food-related items, including
drinks and alcohol products, were seized. According to the EU's
taxation and customs commissioner, "A secret wave of dangerous fakes
is threatening the people in Europe."
In China, counterfeit high-end wines are a growing beverage industry
segment, where fakes are sold to Chinese consumers. Knock-off
artists refill empty bottles from famous chateaux with inferior
vintages. According to one source, "Upwardly mobile Chinese, eager to
display their wealth and sophistication, have since developed a taste
for imported wine along with other foreign luxuries." In China, wine
consumption more than doubled since 2005, making
seventh-largest market in the world. The methods used to dupe
innocent consumers includes photocopying labels, creating different
and phony chateaux names on the capsule and the label. Sometimes
authentic bottles are used but another wine is added by using a
syringe. The problem is so widespread in China, the U.S. and Europe,
that auction house
Christie's has begun smashing empty bottles with a
hammer to prevent them from entering the black market. During one sale
in 2008, a French vintner was "shocked to discover that '106 bottles
out of 107' were fakes." According to one source, counterfeit French
wines sold locally and abroad "could take on a much more serious
amplitude in Asia because the market is developing at a dazzling
speed." Vintners are either unable or hesitant to fight such
counterfeiters: "There are no funds. Each lawsuit costs 500,000
euros," states one French vintner. In addition, some vintners, like
product and food manufacturers, prefer to avoid any publicity
regarding fakes to avoid injuring their brand names. Counterfeit
wine is also found in the West; it is primarily a problem for
collectors of rare wine, especially of pre-WWII French wines, as
producers kept spotty records at the time. Famous examples of
counterfeiting include the case of Hardy Rodenstock, who was involved
with the so-called "Jefferson bottles," and Rudy Kurniawan, who
was indicted in March 2012 for attempting to sell faked bottles of La
Domaine de la Romanée-Conti
Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and
Clos St. Denis
Clos St. Denis from
Domaine Ponsot. In both cases, the victims of the fraud were
high-end wine collectors, including Bill Koch, who sued both
Rodenstock and Kurniawan over fake wines sold both at auction and
U.S. Customers and Border Protection suggest that the cosmetic
industry is losing about $75 million annually based on the amount of
imitation products that are smuggled into the U.S. each year. In
addition to the lost revenue, cosmetics brands are also damaged when
consumers experience unhealthy side effects, such as eye infections or
allergic reactions, from counterfeit products. One of the biggest
threats to beauty consumers is the risk that they are buying
counterfeit products on familiar 3rd party retail platforms like
Illicit cigarettes are an example of the multi-pronged threat of
counterfeiting, providing hundreds of millions of dollars per year to
entities such as Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaida, Islamic Jihad and the
Counterfeit cigarettes cost taxpayers in every nation
billions in lost revenues while foisting on an unsuspecting public a
product found to contain toxic substances like faeces, asbestos and
The harm arising from this amalgam of contaminants sits on top of any
baseline hazard ascribed to commercial tobacco products. With the
sales of illicit cigarettes in Turkey, for example, exceeding 16.2
billion cigarettes per year, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan labeled
counterfeit tobacco as "more dangerous than terrorism".
According to a U.S. Senate committee report in 2012 and reported by
ABC News, "counterfeit electronic parts from
China are 'flooding' into
critical U.S. military systems, including special operations
helicopters and surveillance planes, and are putting the nation's
troops at risk." The report notes that Chinese companies take
discarded electronic parts from other nations, remove any identifying
marks, wash and refurbish them, and then resell them as brand-new –
"a practice that poses a significant risk to the performance of U.S.
On November 29, 2010, the U.S.
Department of Homeland Security
Department of Homeland Security seized
and shut down 82 websites as part of a U.S. crackdown of websites that
sell counterfeit goods, and was timed to coincide with "Cyber Monday,"
the start of the holiday online shopping season. Attorney General
Eric Holder announced that "by seizing these domain names, we have
disrupted the sale of thousands of counterfeit items, while also
cutting off funds to those willing to exploit the ingenuity of others
for their own personal gain.” Members of Congress proposed a
PROTECT IP Act
PROTECT IP Act to block access to foreign Web sites offering
counterfeit goods. Some U.S. politicians are proposing to fine those
who buy counterfeit goods, such as those sold in New York's Canal
Street market. In Europe, France has already created stiff sentences
for sellers or buyers, with punishments up to 3 years in prison and a
$300,000 fine. Also in Europe, non-profit organizations such as
the European Anti-Counterfeiting Network, fight the global trade in
counterfeit goods. During a counterfeit bust in New York in 2007,
federal police seized $200 million in fake designer clothing, shoes,
and accessories from one of the largest-ever counterfeit smuggling
rings. Labels seized included Chanel, Nike, Burberry, Polo, Ralph
Lauren and Baby Phat.
Counterfeit goods are a "...major plague for
fashion and luxury brands," and numerous companies have made legal
efforts to block the sale of counterfeits from China. Many of the
goods are sold to retail outlets in
Brooklyn and Queens.
For trademark owners wishing to identify and prevent the importation
of counterfeit goods, the
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency
supports a supplemental registration of trademarks through their
Intellectual Property Rights e-Recordation program. These
registrations may be supported by brand manuals prepared by, or on
behalf of, brand owners to facilitate the identification of
counterfeit goods, including use as evidence by trademark owners as
evidence in obtaining court orders for the seizure of infringing
From 2010 – 2012, the international organization Oceana had studied
more than 1,200 samples of seafood from various retailers nationwide.
Their investigations showed that 33 percent of these samples were
mislabeled. With a rate of 87 percent, snapper had been the most
frequently mislabeled fish type – followed by tuna with 57
percent. Another type of seafood fraud is the so-called
short-weighting. The weight of a fish is manipulated through
overglazing (excessive ice) or soaking (using additives).
Stop Online Piracy Act
Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)
In October 2011, a bill was introduced entitled Stop Online Piracy Act
(SOPA). If the bill had been passed, it would have expanded the
ability of U.S. law enforcement and copyright holders to fight online
trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit
goods. The bill would have allowed the U.S. Department of Justice, as
well as copyright holders, to seek court orders against websites
accused of enabling or facilitating copyright infringement. Opponents
of the bill stated that it could have crippled the internet through
selective censorship and limiting free speech. In regards to the bill,
the Obama administration stressed that "the important task of
protecting intellectual property online must not threaten an open and
innovative internet." The legislation was later withdrawn by its
author, Rep. Lamar Smith."
On October 1, 2011, the governments of eight nations including Japan
United States signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement
(ACTA), which is designed to help protect intellectual property
rights, especially costly copyright and trademark theft. The signing
took place a year after diligent negotiations among 11 governments:
Australia, Canada, the European Union, Japan, the Republic of Korea,
Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland and the United
States. The EU, Mexico, Switzerland and
China have not yet signed the
agreement. Due to the latter, critics evaluated the agreement as
China counterfeiting is so deeply rooted that crackdowns on shops
selling counterfeit cause public protests during which the authorities
are derided as "bourgeois puppets of foreigners." Countries like
Nigeria fight brand trademark infringement on a national level but the
penalties are dwarfed by the earnings outlook for counterfeiters: "As
grievous as this crime is, which is even worse than armed robbery, the
penalty is like a slap on the palm, the most ridiculous of which is a
fine of 50,000 naira ($307). Any offender would gladly pay this fine
and return to business the next day."
Human rights laws
Counterfeit products are often produced in violation of basic human
rights and child labor laws and human rights laws, as they are often
created in illegal sweatshops. Clothing manufacturers often rely
on sweatshops using children in what some consider "slave labor"
conditions. According to one organization, there are some 3,000 such
sweatshops in and around Buenos Aires, Argentina. Author Dana
Thomas described the conditions she witnessed in other country's
sweatshops, noting that children workers are often smuggled into
countries and sold into labor:
I remember walking into an assembly plant in Thailand a couple of
years ago and seeing six or seven little children, all under 10 years
old, sitting on the floor assembling counterfeit leather handbags. The
owners had broken the children's legs and tied the lower leg to the
thigh so the bones wouldn't mend. [They] did it because the children
said they wanted to go outside and play. . . I went on a raid in a
sweatshop in Brooklyn, and illegal workers were hiding in a rat hole,
[and] impossible to know how old the workers were.
U.S. Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor, who has tried to prosecute
counterfeiters, notes that major industries have suffered the loss of
hundreds of thousands of jobs due to the exploitation of child labor
in sweatshops in New York and Asia. Those often produce dangerous
merchandise, such as fake auto parts or toys, made of toxic and easily
The profits often support terrorist groups, drug cartels,
people smugglers and street gangs. The
FBI has found evidence
that a portion of the financing of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing
came from a store selling counterfeit T-shirts. The same has been
found surrounding many other organized crime activities. According to
Bruce Foucart, director of US Homeland Security’s National
Intellectual Property Coordination Centre, the sales of counterfeit
goods funded the Charlie Hebdo attack of 2016 in Paris, which left 12
people dead and nearly a dozen more injured. Sales of pirated CDs
have been linked to funding the 2004 Madrid train bombing, and
investigations firm Carratu connects money from counterfeit goods to
Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, the Japanese Yakuza, the ETA, and the Russian
The crackdown on counterfeit goods has not only become a matter of
human rights but one of national and international security in various
FBI has called product counterfeiting "the crime of the
Internet shopping sites
Major internet shopping sites, such as Amazon.com, ebay.com, and
Alibaba.com, provide complaint pages where listings of counterfeit
goods can be reported. The reporter must show that it owns the
intellectual property (e.g. trademark, patent, copyright) being
presented on the counterfeit listings. The shopping site will then do
an internal investigation and if it agrees, it will take the
counterfeit listing down.
Instagram spambots featuring Louis Vuitton, selling counterfeit luxury
items of different brands
Instagram spambots featuring profile keywords and posting techniques
Instagram spambot featuring sellers who embedded their contact details
on published images
Russian-based website specializing in
Chanel bags at cheaper prices
Social media platforms
Besides, online market sites, the shift to digital for luxury and
consumer goods have led to both promising opportunities and serious
risks. The British government, released a study, Social Media and
Luxury Goods Counterfeit, stating 1/5 of all items tagged with luxury
good brand names on Instagram are fakes, with 20% of the posts
featured counterfeit goods from accounts, usually based in China,
Russia, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Ukraine. It also highlights the
scale, impact, and characteristics of infringement, and that
sophistication from counterfeiters continues to grow through social
media platforms. In 2016, in a span of 3-day period, Instagram has
identified 20,892 fake accounts selling counterfeit goods,
collectively responsible for 14.5 million posts, 146,958 new images
and gaining 687,817 new followers, with
Chanel (13.90%), Prada (9.69%)
and Louis Vuitton (8.51%) being the top affected brands, according to
Social Media and Luxury Goods Counterfeit: a growing concern for
government, industry and consumers worldwide study from The Washington
Social media and mobile applications have turned into ideal platforms
for transactions and trades.
Counterfeit users and sellers would set
up online accounts on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook and post
counterfeit or illicit products through ways of sponsored ads and
deals. The consumer can easily contact buyers and purchase the
counterfeit goods unknowingly, by email, WhatsApp, WeChat, and PayPal.
As social media watchdogs and groups are working on cracking and
shutting down accounts selling counterfeit goods, counterfeiters
continue to operate 24 hours, with advanced systems in algorithms,
artificial intelligence, and spambots, also tactics involving
automatic account creation, avoid in detection and tax-and-duty-free
law. It is advised by many that brands, tech platforms, governments
and consumers require a comprehensive strategy and cross-sector
collaboration to combat the multifaceted system enabling the
international counterfeit market.
So far, only United Kingdom, Scotland and Erie representatives have
taken the initiatives by using law enforcement and criminal charges to
fight against counterfeiting and piracy on social media accounts.
This concern still needs tremendous effort in updating its enforcement
policies in online counterfeiting, below are some emerging solutions
suggested by World Trademark Review:
Social media surveillance – New technical filters and deploy further
resources; engaging in open information sharing; and promoting broader
awareness in public campaigns
Continued enforcement measures – Rogue website actions; customs
training and cooperation with law enforcement; and addressing
counterfeit goods at the source
Reinforce in postal service – advance data screening for mail
parcels and shipments
Adopting a set of best practices in payment processors
Collaborate with third-party cooperation for reliance
Packaging can be engineered to help reduce the risks of package
pilferage or the theft and resale of products: Some package
constructions are more resistant to pilferage and some have pilfer
Counterfeit consumer goods, unauthorized sales
(diversion), material substitution and tampering can all be reduced
with these anti-counterfeiting technologies. Packages may include
authentication seals and use security printing to help indicate that
the package and contents are not counterfeit; these too are subject to
counterfeiting. Packages also can include anti-theft devices, such as
dye-packs, RFID tags, or electronic article surveillance tags that
can be activated or detected by devices at exit points and require
specialized tools to deactivate. Anti-counterfeiting technologies that
can be used with packaging include:
2D barcodes - data codes that can be tracked
Color shifting ink or film - visible marks that switch colors or
texture when tilted
DNA tracking - genes embedded onto labels that can be traced
Encrypted micro-particles - unpredictably placed markings (numbers,
layers, and colors) not visible to the human eye
Holograms - graphics printed on seals, patches, foils or labels and
used at point of sale for visual verification
Kinetic diffraction grating images
Micro-printing - second line authentication often used on currencies
NFC (Near Field Communication) tagging for authentication -
short-range wireless connectivity that stores information between
Overt and covert feature
Security pigments and inks - marks only visible under ultraviolet
light and is not under normal lighting conditions
Tactile prints - dots printed directly onto surface of the product,
provide embossed finishes to highlight specific design features
Tamper evident seals and tapes - destructible or graphically
verifiable at point of sale
Taggant fingerprinting - uniquely coded microscopic materials that are
verified from a database
Track and trace
Track and trace systems - use codes to link products to database
Water indicators - become visible when contacted with water
With the increasing sophistication of counterfeiters techniques, there
is an increasing need for designers and technologists to develop even
more creative solutions to distinguish genuine products from frauds,
incorporating unique and less obvious aspects of identification into
the design of goods. One of the most impressive of techniques exploits
anisotropic optical characteristics of conjugated polymers.
Engineers have developed specialized markings and patterns that can be
incorporated within the designs of textiles that can only be detected
under polarized lights. Similar to methods implemented in the
production of currency, invisible threads and dyes are used to create
unique designs within the weaves of luxury textiles that cannot be
replicated by counterfeiters due to a unique set of fibres,
anisotropic tapes, and polymer dyes used by the brand and
Counterfeit electronic components
Intellectual property infringement in the People's Republic of China
Packaging and labelling
2013 meat adulteration scandal
Sara R. Ellis, Copyrighting Couture: An Examination of Fashion Design
Protection and Why the DPPA and IDPPPA are a Step Towards the Solution
Counterfeit Chic, 78 Tenn. L. Rev. 163 (2010), available at
Phillips, Tim. Knockoff: The Deadly Trade in
Counterfeit Goods Kogan
Page, U.K. (2006)
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