The Issue with Counterfeit Products
Counterfeit products have been an issue for decades. However, in more recent years faked products have been on the rise, and we have technology to thank for that. Technology is a valuable necessity in today’s world, but that doesn’t mean it comes without its issues and setbacks – which includes the rise of counterfeits.
Technology makes it relatively easy for counterfeiters to make almost identical fake products to the originals. Not only that but they are able to make these fakes fast and can distribute them even faster. How? The Internet. From eBay to Amazon to Craigslist, counterfeit products are flooding the most popular online stores and third-party selling websites. With so many fake products produced, and faked well, paired with the vast world of online shopping and anonymity of sellers, we are facing a serious problem.
Why Make Fake Products?
Even worse is the fact that the people behind these fake products will likely never get caught and if they do, the consequences are minimal. According to Fortune.com, people can get into the counterfeit business for a very low cost and it’s a highly profitable business with only 1/10th of imports seized. There is lots of money to be made and little consequence of getting into the business makes it very appealing to many looking to make big bucks, quickly.
How Can Counterfeit Products be Stopped?
Trademark Products in China
With 84% of all counterfeit products being produced in China, we should start with protecting intellectual property within and from China. To do this, a brand must register their trademarks directly in China and their home country or any other country the product is sold in. without trademarking directly in China, one will have no rights over their products making it impossible to stop counterfeits. Additionally, once trademarked in China a brand can then register their product with Customs, which can aid the brand in stopping faked products from even leaving China.
Although this may seem like an overwhelming chore, constant monitoring of English and Chinese sites for counterfeit products in an effective way to stop fake products. One can search for the name of the product and search the image, and often time loads of counterfeit products reveal themselves.
Follow Through and Legal Action
Once a brand finds their product is being produced in the counterfeit world, it is necessary to follow through and take legal action. For instance, the company could send a cease and desist letter or look into civil litigation. The sooner the process is started the better chance the brand has of filing and winning a lawsuit. Quick action is key to stopping counterfeit products.
Educate and Make the Consumer Aware of Fakes
One of the simplest, but most effective ways to help stop the counterfeit industry is for brands to educate their consumer. If the brand’s consumer base is well educated and highly aware that fake products are running wild on the Internet, the customer will be more cautious when buying the product. The brand should inform their customer through blogs, emails, social media, or a section on their website of the issue, where counterfeit products are often sold, what to look for the avoid counterfeit products, and what they should do if they come across a fake product.
Although this will not directly stop counterfeiters, if consumers stop buying fake products, the illegitimate company making the fake products will suffer, lose money, and eventually go out of business.