December 22, 2010 § Leave a comment
Although many of you know that China is a major source of counterfeit goods, Korea is also a huge manufacturer of fake products. Known for their skill in creating perfect imitations of luxury designer products, Korea is also becoming known as the creators of “super fakes.” Widely available in Korea, these “super fakes” are boldly near designer boutiques as well as copycat websites. There is little wonder why Korea’s “super fakes” are becoming a hot item.
An article published in the Korea Times last month addressed growing a stereotype. In Korea some feel that purchasing counterfeits could actually bring free advertising for luxury brands and show the level of the brand’s success. Some may feel that when a product is counterfeited they have “made it” so to speak, but in reality, purchasing a counterfeit does absolutely nothing to help the brand, or the economy for that matter.
This year, the Intellectual Property Centre of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in Korea (EUCCK IP Centre) developed and published a series of anti-counterfeiting materials to distribute throughout Korea. This awareness campaign was put into practice to stop the stereotypes about counterfeiting, show Koreans that it is a punishable crime and make the general public aware of the criminal acts they are supporting when they purchase a fake.
Apparently anyone can walk down one of the main streets in Korea and find someone to sell them a “super fake,” even in broad daylight. So how do these counterfeiters get away with such an illegal act? Korea is very lenient with regards to punishing them and when they get to court, the maximum sentence is only one year in prison. The EUCCK works to track down the culprits online, but it is difficult. “You have these advertising links flashing up on legitimate websites, and it will take you to other websites, whose servers are often based outside of Korea. That causes problems for taking enforcement action against them,” Tom Duke, director of the European Chamber of Commerce in Korea (EUCCK) IP Centre, told The Korea Times.
Although it just launched this past August, we are hoping that the EUCCK IP Centre campaign will see some positive results over the next year and slow down the counterfeit market in Korea.
December 17, 2010 § Leave a comment
The Department of Homeland Security has made great strides against the counterfeit industry this month. In two raids alone, they confiscated over $700K in counterfeit merchandise.
In Milwaukee, Customs & Border Protection (CBP) officers seized over $400K in counterfeit goods. Working with the CDP, DHL and FedEx facilities made over 80 seizures of goods including fake NFL jerseys, footwear, Tiffany jewelry and DVDs.
“These seizures represent the commitment by CBP in protecting the American consumer from receiving fraudulent, inferior and in many cases potentially dangerous products.” said David Murphy, CBP director of field operations in Chicago.
In New Orleans, over $250K was seized by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at a flea market. 16,171 pieces of counterfeit merchandise were confiscated including fake Nike, Polo Ralph Lauren, Oakley, Ray Ban, Coach, Chanel, Gucci, DVDs and CDs. ICE also found 3 DVD burners with the culprits and an additional 4,572 pieces of counterfeit merchandise worth $59,000 that were abandoned during the operation.
ICE is the largest division of the Department of Homeland Security that leads the U.S. in the fight against counterfeits. They work to target criminal organizations that smuggle, manufacture, and distribute counterfeit goods and we are eager to see what programs and technologies they will use to further their quest to end counterfeiting.
December 14, 2010 § Leave a comment
In Africa, counterfeit prescription drugs are a colossal problem that is growing. Not only are the consumers in need of malaria drugs being duped, but doctors and medical buyers are as well. Luckily mPedigree Network, a nonprofit based in Ghana who advocates for development strategies to fight counterfeiting, has teamed up with Hewlett Packard (HP) to bring a new anti-counterfeiting program to Ghana and Nigeria.
As seen in the image above, the HP and mPedigree Network program requires a consumer to scratch off a label on their prescription bottle to reveal a verification code. This code can then be texted to a designated phone number for verification. mPedigree Network works with the pharmaceutical companies to insure that each prescription has its own unique code. HP’s secure “cloud” verifies that the medication is authentic and a text message is sent back to the consumer stating whether or not the prescription is authentic.
According to the World Health Organization, 10% of drugs globally are counterfeit and in developing countries as much as 25% of the drug market is counterfeit. Eliminating counterfeit drugs could save over 700,000 lives a year. In a recent interview with mPedigree Network Founder, Bright Simmons, he states that he has seen estimates that up to 60% of the legitimate supply chain of medicine in West Africa has been compromised. Shocking statistics for countries that need such medications the most.
Since mobile phones are very common in Ghana and Nigeria, this program will hopefully put a huge damper in the counterfeit drug industry. Best of all, it’s free.
December 9, 2010 § Leave a comment
Louis Vuitton Malletier SA and Louis Vuitton U.S. Manufacturing Inc. filed a complaint on December 3rd to the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington to begin an investigation of five companies, both in the U.S. and abroad, for allegedly importing and selling counterfeits and knockoff Louis Vuitton products. This includes everything from handbags to luggage and packaging.
According to Bloomberg.com, one of the companies named in the complaint is a Chinese couple from California. They set up a series of shell companies in China and the U.S. to make and sell knockoffs.
If the International Trade Commission finds these allegations accurate, it could prevent the counterfeit goods from entering the U.S. or a cease and desist order against all of the companies Louis Vuitton named in their case from importing into the United States.
As a brand, Louis Vuitton has been fighting counterfeiting for over a century. Georges Vuitton, son of Louis Vuitton, created the signature Monogram Canvas in 1896 in order to fight counterfeits. It was registered as a trademark in the early 1900s and in 1908 the first counterfeiter was prosecuted and sentenced in France. Louis Vuitton now works closely with law enforcement to stop the imitation of their products. On average, the brand aids 29 anti-counterfeiting raids, 91 new legal proceedings and closes three websites associated with counterfeit products per day.
The best way to support Louis Vuitton and avoid counterfeits is to buy directly from their authorized retailers. There are only three places you can buy an official Louis Vuitton product and they are from the Louis Vuitton retail stores or online at www.louisvuitton.com. With respect to vintage and second-hand boutiques, our best advice is to do your homework before you buy.
December 7, 2010 § Leave a comment
In an effort to crackdown on the online counterfeiting industry, the Department of Justice and Homeland Security seized and shut down 82 website domains selling counterfeit goods and music on Cyber Monday – one of the biggest and busiest online shopping days of the year. Counterfeiters look to draw consumers to their fake websites and counterfeit scams by providing fake goods at a discount. Most of the goods the websites sold included golf equipment, clothing, fashion accessories, and illegal copies of copyrighted DVDs for music and software. The Feds wanted the crackdown to coincide with Cyber Monday to put a damper in the counterfeit trade at the start of the holiday shopping season.
“We are dedicated to protecting the jobs, the income and the tax revenue that disappear when counterfeit goods are trafficked,” the Dept. of Homeland Security told Industry Week.
How did the Feds determine the goods were counterfeit? They purchased them from the websites (This includes burberryoutletshop.com, cheapscarfshop.com, dvdcollectionsale.com, handbagcom.com, mydreamwatches.com, rapgodfathers.com, sunglasses-mall.com, torrent-finder.com and usaoutlets.net to name a few), and determined the goods they sold were counterfeit. Apparently there were loads of misspelled “designer” labels and cheap material used to make the fake products.
The seized websites now show this image:
So what do these criminals face for selling counterfeits online? As seen above, copyright infringement is a federal crime which warrants a penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Trafficking in counterfeit goods on the other hand carries a 10-year sentence and a two million dollar fine.
The best way you can help is to report a website selling counterfeit goods to us at www.fakesareneverinfashion.com.
December 2, 2010 § Leave a comment
Back in August, Senator Chuck Schumer introduced The Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act as a legislation meant to protect designers from copycats and allow them to file for copyright protection for their patterns and designs. The bill has been backed by The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) as well as the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA). Just yesterday, the legislation was unanimously passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee. According to Elle.com, “The new bill specifically states that it protects ‘unique and original designs,’ so signature brands and young designers that have struggled to keep their logos and designs from being knocked-off can now breathe a little sigh of relief.”
So what does this mean for the knockoff industry? If the bill becomes a law it will not eradicate knockoffs for good, but it would limit the availability of counterfeits. Unique designs would be protected by law and those who design, manufacture and sell knockoffs could be punished. Fashionista.com asked Susan Scafidi, intellectual property attorney and director of Fordham’s Fashion Law Institute, about the bill. She said it could “a) protect a new design for three years after it’s been put into production, b) spur creativity in mass retail, and c) stop designers–peers–from knocking each other off.”
The bill is greatly supported by those who value a designer’s creative integrity and originality, and of course by the luxury designers themselves who are constantly being copied by the counterfeit industry. We found some great responses on Twitter:
“Knockoff’s get a knockdown! It’s a good day for designers.”
“Sorry (not really) for flooding with tweets about the #IDPPA but its passing today is revolutionary for fashion designers!”
“It’s A Good Day for Designers. The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously passes IDPPA!”
We have to say we are pretty excited about this new legislation too!