Sunday, November 12, 2006

Who's Willing to Talk About Fakes?

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Accenture teamed up to write up real world case studies of companies who are actively tackling fakes - and who are willing to talk about it. The interim version of this tool kit contains four of these case studies (New Balance, Merck, and Bendix).

There are some enlightening examples contained in these cases:

  • Manufacturing codes are attached to legitimate Bendix parts; but these are easily duplicated by counterfeiters. Moreover, makers of fake products can always claim that codes are "their own." This clearly makes the case for a 'trusted' source for authenticating codes on products - and making them impossible to guess.
  • New Balance supplies its factories with difficult-to-copy labels with an embedded code. Because labels must be attached to every shoe, this is an effective way to control production integrity and spot fakes or unauthorized overruns. In the near future, New Balance may also assign a unique number to every item—making it possible to determine where and when every article was made.

A final version of the tool kit, with eleven case studies is due out in November 2006.

The Chamber of Commerce has also launched a nicely produced website.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Good Morning America – your fakes are here.

Those of us in the industry have know of the dangers of counterfeit goods for some time ... now consumers are being reminded by mainstream news. This week, Good Morning America aired a report by ABC News on the dangers of counterfeits – illustrated with a few examples of “frightening” or even fatal consequences to consumers who buy counterfeit goods. Whether it is fake prescription drugs, shampoo, extension cords or car parts, counterfeit items are affecting people everywhere.

Consumers were – as usual - advised to “get to know what a ‘real’ product looks like” and buy from reputable retailers. We think it’s impractical to expect consumers to be experts on packaging. Sadly, that's about the only way today until brand owners adopt an easier to use solution.

Other news this week ...

FDA Orders Recall of Fake Test Strips. The counterfeit test strips could potentially could false high or low blood glucose values. The FDA says it does not know how many of the counterfeit strips are out on the market. LifeScan, who makes the genuine test strips, say they do not know either. More information can be found at or call LifeScan at (866) 621-4855.

More Con than Condom. Bogus Durex condoms look identical to genuine Durex packs. The only difference is an outdated code number printed on the bottom. The firm had no idea about how the fakes had appeared in shops and has now taken out ads in national newspapers to warn customers.

In the first six months this year, counterfeit and pirated goods valued at $699.3 million were discovered in 760 incidents in 69 countries, according to statistics compiled by Gieschen Consultancy, a Canadian company that tracks counterfeit merchandise globally.