Sunday, June 11, 2006

Counterfeit Britain by the Numbers

The UK is very active in tackling its counterfeiting problem. It is the home of the ACG, as well as many respectable and innovative anti-counterfeit technology firms. High taxes on certain products make fakes more attractive - but it is reasonable to assume that the rates of counterfeiting seen in Britain are reflective of all developed economies.

According to Bob Fenton, security liaison manager for the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association (TMA), out of 229 packs collected from trash cans after a sporting event, 14 — or 6% — are counterfeit. This is considerably higher than the rate the TMA estimates of fakes of all cigarettes consumed in Britain (2.6%).

In 2004, counterfeit Lipton teabags made up 67% of the foodstuffs seized in the UK. This may explain why your correspondent has always found a cup of Lipton tea to be a pale imposter of the decent British cuppa.

Adidas and Nike copies accounted for 27% and 26% of seized sportswear. Louis Vuitton ripoffs comprised 18% of seized accessories. Philip Morris counterfeits made up 47% of seized cigarettes. And Rolex fakes accounted for 16% of watches and jewellery.

Unilever said “We have come across our brand being used on sun-care products claiming a protection factor of 90. There are two things wrong with that — the sun-protection numbers go up to only about 50; and, worse still, this product did not contain any sun protection at all."