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.
November 10, 2010 § Leave a comment
We all know the dangers behind buying a counterfeit product; whether they are dangerous to our health, to the economy of a country or to the lives of children in developing nations. It has become quite evident that the sales from counterfeit goods fund child labor, sweat shops, drug cartels and even terrorism, but I am sure you all already knew that. Recently Mexican law enforcement officials conducted a raid of a Mexican drug cartel La Familia Michoacana, not to find drugs, guns or money, but to crack down on a counterfeit software ring.
A recent New York Times article references the raid in Mexico and shows that these types of criminal activities have a direct association with counterfeit goods. The children in sweat shops are sewing your fake bags and the counterfeit Microsoft Office Suite that you bought from an unauthorized website is being run by La Familia Michoacana, for example. It’s no secret that these criminals are looking for any way to make money and it looks like the new fad is counterfeiting. Not to mention that for drug cartels, it is seen as a low-risk, high-profit investment and a complement to their already criminal business.
In this particular case, over 300 officers raided the residence of the drug cartel and found 50 machines being used to counterfeit Microsoft CDs and Xbox video games. Although on a side note, Microsoft has found that thieves counterfeiting their software have included everyone from college students to grandmothers.
Microsoft has 10 crime labs battling counterfeiting globally. Counterfeiters get past Microsoft’s strict control over its partners who produce their CDs by stealing stampers and presses as well as presenting fake Microsoft paperwork. So how does Microsoft trick counterfeiters? They input a hologram film into a layer of lacquer on the CD. They also plant messages in the security thread that goes into the authenticity stickers. Because these counterfeiters have become so good at what they do, to the naked eye, there is not much of a difference between the counterfeit product and the authentic Microsoft CD. The only unique differences are those that can only be seen under a microscope.
(Photo taken from The New York Times article, “Chasing Pirates: Inside Microsoft’s War Room”)
This New York Times article is a great example of the steps brands are taking to eliminate counterfeiting, but also how counterfeit goods (for all of you non-believers) are truly connected to criminal activities such as drug cartels.
Counterfeiting is a problem bigger than fake handbags alone. So we ask that the next time you purchase a product not directly from the brand (i.e street vendors, unauthorized websites or online auction sales), to do your homework and make sure you are not purchasing a counterfeit. Because we all know that the cost of supporting these criminal activities is not worth the purchase price. Visit us at www.fakesareneverinfashion.com for more information on how to spot counterfeit goods.