Monday, March 17, 2008

Oh No! Fake OMO!

We've been talking about the trend for counterfeiters to target ordinary branded consumer goods - not just luxury items. This news article from Australia is a great example: counterfeit washing powder.

The general counsel for Unilever, Mary Weir, said the Omo case was representative of a rise in the number of counterfeit consumer products entering Australia.

A recent trademark conference in Sydney, highlighted examples of the rise in fake consumer goods and foods and their risks:

■ Sunglasses made of cheap plastic without the graduated lens to prevent optical damage, causing headaches and blurred vision when worn.

■ Fragrances made with acetone which not only stains clothing but can cause skin allergies and asthma attacks.

■ Toys made with unsafe plastics, rubber, paints, glues, dyes and loosely fitted parts.

■ Clothing. About eight million counterfeit clothing items are brought into Australia annually, costing the local fashion industry $1 billion a year.

■ Food. Battery-farmed eggs labeled as free-range, basmati rice bags diluted with inferior varieties, and false claims on the organic status of fruit, vegetables and meats.

■ Electrical goods. Small appliances that do not comply with Australian standards and which short-circuit, leading to electrical hazards in the home.