The Negative Effects of Counterfeiting

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Stephanie Villafranca
FTT 450
Professor Shephard
4/30/13
The Negative Effects of Counterfeiting

Abstract
Counterfeiting is an illegal action. There is a study that provides strong evidence as to why counterfeit items can affect not only the lives of the designers, but the everyday consumer. It costs 250 billion dollars a year, which causes people to lose their jobs. Its profit margin is larger than any other illegal business. (Crime Inc., 2010). Many people think that counterfeiting only hurts the designer and affects the economy financially, but what they do not realize is that this crime can personally harm the lives of them and their family. In a study I had found by Sara Marcketti and Mack Shelley, 244 fashion students at Midwestern University said they would pay for counterfeit goods. That number is alarming for many reasons, one main reason being the safety of the consumer. Based on personality traits among diverse consumers of different genders and backgrounds, young consumers who are of a wealthier class and who are self-conscience believe that branded items are of highest importance of them. However, it may be different for a young consumer who comes from a middle class or poor household, where buying a good which is counterfeit might not matter to them. (Bilal, 2012).

This is where it becomes dangerous. Counterfeit sneakers might seem harmless, but the consumers don’t realize the physical damage that is being done to their feet. The most harmful form of counterfeit goods are fraudulent medicines. “The sale of fraudulent medicines from Asia to South-East Asia and Africa alone amounts to some 1.6 million per year.” (The United Nations office on Drugs and Crime, 2013). According to Marcketti and Shelley, authors of Consumer Concern, Knowledge and Attitude towards Counterfeiting is when a manufacturer creates a lookalike product, labels it as an original and passes it off as a true original. This is a worldwide phenomenon that accounts for 5%-7% of global trade. (Marcketti, Shelley, 2009). The growth rate at this point has increased 1700% in the last 10 years (KasimTatić, 2012).

The constant growth of Counterfeiting and Trademark infringement in the last decade has flourished due to online Marketplaces, such as EBay. (Saunders, Berger-Walliser, 2011) Many consumers are tricked and scammed into buying counterfeit goods, which, in turn causes the authentic designer to lose money. This affects the economy and how we spend our money. It is now clear why original trademark holders will take legal action at any point where they feel as if they are being cheated, threatened or copied. (Bartow, 2011) We live in a society obsessed with materialistic items and it seems like an individual “will go to any length to obtain it.” Counterfeiting is a never ending battle. (Wicker, 2008.) What many consumers don’t understand is that copying the actual design verses counterfeiting are two different ends of the spectrum. Bartow states that “Counterfeiting is the act of putting someone else’s exact trademark on products that were not produced or authorized by the trademark holder.” (Bartow, 2011).

Although there are different forms of counterfeiting such as pharmaceuticals and appliances, fashion luxury counterfeiting has been happening the longest. For 100 years (1860-1960) Haute couture dominated fashion in Europe and America (Stewart, 2005) “Bon Marché mimicked couturiers by arranging showings of their ‘‘latest creations’’ and employing, though only for their catalog covers, the same illustrators as fashion magazines did.” (Stewart, 2005). It is easy to think of all the counterfeiting going on currently, however we don’t realize that it happened within Haute Couture over 100 years ago as well. It is helpful and beneficial as a fashion student to learn about the emergence of counterfeiting.

Counterfeiting is a violation of the Federal Trademark Law. It entails wholesale copying of trademarks as well as design...
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