The volume of counterfeit products is huge and poses safety issues for manufacturers, carriers and consumers, says Phil Hamilton, chief executive officer and co-founder of Countercheck.
Valued at $3 trillion or 3.3% of global trade, the volume of counterfeit goods globally is simply massive, and the problem is worsening, says Hamilton. “Our markets are just being flooded with counterfeit goods on a day-to-day basis.”
Industries across the verticals are affected. Everyone is aware of phony Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Hugo Boss bags, but it's not just luxury fashion industries that are in play. From toys to pharmaceutical products to car parts, multiple industries are losing money, and consumers of these fake items sometimes are at great risk.
Bogus pharmaceuticals and motor vehicle parts are prime examples of items where there is no quality assurance. “Imagine if a fake brake pad gets on a car in the U.S. or a fake airbag, which is common in Europe. If you've bought that online, installed that, and it was fake, it’s going to be a problem later on. The danger of buying counterfeit goods online is huge,” Hamilton says.
Research indicates many counterfeit drugs come from India and China, where intellectual property rights holders are limited in their efforts to investigate, he says.
Parcel carriers have teamed with legitimate manufacturers to try to stem the import and distribution of counterfeit goods, according to Hamilton. Carriers realize that there’s more at stake than manufacturers’ reputations. Purchase of fake goods hurts employment by brand holders. Moreover, it’s known that proceeds from sales of phony goods often goes into terrorist organizations. For example, Hamilton says, train bombings in Madrid in 2004 and attacks on the Charlie Hebdo magazine office in Paris in 2015 were funded through counterfeiting.
“Carriers have a responsibility to help in the fight against counterfeiting,” Hamilton says.
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