Combating trademark and product piracy
Why is combating trademark and product piracy so important?
Manufacturers of trademark goods are constantly striving to create products that tap into the contemporary vibe. Launching the right product at the right time is crucial for these companies.
Part of their work involves recognising and satisfying customer needs. In short, being up to date is an important part of maintaining market position in this day and age.
Not everyone manages to do this. It takes a great deal of energy and above all money, and the investment doesn't always pay off.
What often seems to be a huge challenge for brand manufacturers, doesn't appear to present any particular obstacles to counterfeiters. Plagiarists and counterfeiters might seem to be naturals at detecting market trends. This is not surprising. After all, counterfeiters don't create their own trends, but do what they do best, namely imitate. There are hardly any risks and it saves a lot of energy and cash.
Trademark and product piracy
Trademark piracy is the illegal use of signs, names, logos (brands) and business names that brand manufacturers use to distinguish their products.
Product piracy means illegally imitating or copying goods for which the lawful manufacturer holds rights for the invention, design or a particular process. Counterfeiters and pirates exploit technical know-how without permission - know-how that companies have acquired through years of extensive work and by investing huge sums in order to leverage it for their products. Counterfeiters use the reputation of a trademark, which brand manufacturers have built up on the basis of the quality of their products, to fool consumers about the true origin and quality of the goods.
This means right-holders have to develop timely responses and protect themselves with every possible means.
Damage inflicted by trademark and product piracy
While the German customs administration seized goods in around 1,000 instances between 1988 and 1994, the number of cases for 1995 alone stood at 500. And this figure has continued to climb, with 8,564 cases in 2004 and 7,217 cases in 2005.
The financial losses inflicted by piracy and the cost of combating counterfeiters forces companies to make cuts. According to estimates from business associations, piracy is costing large number of jobs in Germany and the EU.
Piracy is having a growing impact on safety in the automotive and aerospace industries. Fake brake linings or safety valves are no exception. A missing active ingredient in a pharmaceutical product can have fatal consequences.
There is hardly any difference in the price of official supporters' merchandise and fake goods. And cheap copies aren't even worth the small amount consumers pay.
By conducting border seizures, customs authorities offer rights-holders an effective means to combat counterfeiting. Border seizures can help to prevent counterfeit goods - the vast majority of which come from abroad - from finding their way into the retail trade and being sold on to consumers.