06 June 2018

Happy World Anti-Counterfeiting Day!

It’s the 20th World Anti-Counterfeiting Day! Established by the Global Anti-Counterfeiting Network, the day enables the organisation of local, national and regional events under the umbrella of an international campaign focussed on the problems of counterfeiting and piracy.

What is the Global Anti-Counterfeiting Group (GACG) Network?                                           

The GACG is an international network of national and regional IP protection and enforcement organisations who aim to exchange and share best practices, information, and participate in joint activities to solve international IP enforcement challenges.

What is Counterfeiting?                                           

  • Counterfeiting is the practice of manufacturing goods and selling them under a trade mark without the trade mark owner’s permission.
  • Counterfeit goods are normally of a substandard quality and can easily become faulty, thereby damaging the brand owner’s reputation.
  • Due to the rise of the internet, counterfeiters can reach a wider consumer audience whilst maintaining anonymity.
  • In some of the worst cases counterfeiting can help fund child labour, organised crime, money laundering and terrorism activities.

How can I prevent my products from being counterfeited?

The main prevention method many brand owners adopt is educating their consumers on how to spot a potential counterfeit product. Awareness is key in the fight against fakes and most brand owners encourage their consumers to check for the quality and consistency of a product. Many brand owners advise consumers to avoid products with prices that seem uncharacteristically low. Technology brand, Apple inc., lists the exact trade marks they have registered on their website, so that consumers can familiarise themselves with the particular fonts and terms used.

Are there any legal measures in place to prevent this?

Yes! Counterfeiting is illegal and, as such, there are a number of laws in place to help brand owners protect their products. Launched on the 12th September 2013, the UK’s first specialist police unit for intellectual property crime (known as PIPCU) often deals with cases of counterfeiting and forgery. Not only do they offer advice to consumers on avoiding forged products, they also seek to collaborate and liaise with brand owners in order to clamp down on counterfeiting in the UK. Furthermore, customs are given the authority to destroy small arrivals of counterfeit goods (up to 3 items or less than 2kg in weight) without seeking the brand owner’s permission. Although brand owners can opt out of this scheme, it can prove very useful for those who struggle to keep track of small consignments of counterfeit goods entering the country.

What should I do if someone has counterfeited my products?

While preventative methods can strongly limit forgeries, it is also important to have a set of systems in place in case counterfeit products are still being sold. We can assist you in setting up strategic solutions for tackling these issues. Having trade marks registered and recorded with local customs offices is vital in this respect. Once proven that you have a legitimate claim that your products have been counterfeited, you may be eligible to conduct raids in collaboration with local authorities and seize fake products. We can advise you in filing civil actions against those responsible.

For queries or advice about counterfeiting and protecting your brand, please contact Mathys and Squire Managing Associate, Laura West, via [email protected].