Thursday, February 02, 2006

Fake Brands Good Headlines Make

The last week saw mulitple headlines regarding counterfeit products - further pushing awareness of the problem into the public domain and psyche. What is interesting is these stories show the scope of the problem - from Tiffany jewelry, through MP3 players, and irons, to toothpaste. Unless the consumer has a reliable way of authenticating a product themselves, they remain at risk.

  • Tiffany & Co. is suing eBay for enabling a huge market in fakes and for serving ads that point to fake Tiffany products when the brand is searched. Tiffany's research found an astonishing 95% ... NINETY-FIVE PERCENT... of Tiffany branded products sold on eBay are fake. eBay has a program, called VeRO, that allows brand owners to monitor and shut down trademark infringing sales.
  • The San Jose Mercury News ran a cover story today, highlighting the scale of counterfeiting in high tech industry. In it, they quote: The Imaging Supplies Coalition estimates that one in every 20 printer cartridges sold in the United States is fake, with worldwide losses running at $2 billion a year. Perhaps what consumers find surprising is the high tech nature of these fakes - these are not simple devices to copy.
  • A massive fake toothpaste bust in the Philippines also yielded a fake L'Oreal, and 2000 bottles of fake perfume.
  • This news snippet came to my attention today, too. Back in November, 2005 the Ningbo Municipal AIC in China confiscated over 20,000 infringing irons produced by Zhejiang Jiangxin Electrical Appliance Co., Ltd. The infringer was caught red-handed in two successive raids producing irons with trademarks including “TEFAL”, “BRAUN”, “SIEMENS”, “SAMSUNG” and “PHILIPS”.
  • Finally, Transparency International this week released their report on corruption in the global health system. It contains much of the usual data on the terrible scale of drug counterfeiting.