Counterfeit consumer goods are goods, often of inferior quality, made or sold under another’s brand name without the brand owner’s authorization. Sellers of such goods may infringe on either the trade mark, patent or copyright of the brand owner by passing off its goods as made by the brand owner. From handbags to auto parts, authorities continue to struggle in attempts to control the ever increasing counterfeit black market. According to Consumer Reports, “not only do fakes cost U.S. businesses as much as $250 billion in lost trade annually, but many are also downright dangerous.”
Reports of counterfeit airbags not deploying, or even exploding cause great alarm to consumers and automakers alike. We don’t often think about the hidden costs of buying fake, but fakes can be life threatening to consumers and businesses. In a recent discovery, doctors were unknowingly using counterfeit botox on patients. The bottles looked nearly identical to the genuine product, and without knowing the purity or exactly what the bottle contained those doctors could have risked their patient’s health along with their business.
Not all cases of counterfeit involve dark alleys and shady characters. Recently Estee Lauder accused Target of trademark counterfeiting and infringement of the popular brand “MAC.” Estee Lauder claimed more than $600,000 in damages were caused due to counterfeit sales. Corporate trust was damaged, and the extent may yet be known. Imitation is not always flattering, especially when your brand is at stake.