Why buy original?

  • 1/1/70 1:00 AM

The phenomenon of buying and selling counterfeit goods is a global problem and that it is estimated that its international trade accounts for up to 460 billion euros, according to the latest report published by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) View full report

The phenomenon of counterfeiting is a cross-cutting and global phenomenon, and the fight against it and its eradication is the responsibility of both public and private entities:

  • It destroys jobs: around 53,500 jobs a year.
  • It damages the trade of cities by encouraging unfair competition.
  • It damages the country’s economy by cutting almost 7 million euros in sales.
  • It promotes the underground economy where taxes are not paid, leading to the impoverishment of all.
  • Counterfeits do not pass the quality controls that ensure safe consumption.
  • Counterfeits can pose major health and safety risks.
  • It is an activity controlled by organised crime.
  • It is the second most profitable criminal trafficking, only behind arms trafficking.
  • The mafias that profit from them exploit irregular and itinerant vendors.
  • They jeopardise innovation by impairing consumer access to new products.
  • Consumer rights are lost.

Sectors most affected by counterfeiting

Spain occupies a worrying 10th place in the world economies where Industrial Property rights are infringed. 6.8 billion euros in annual sales are lost due to counterfeiting (10.6% of annual sales) and 53,467 jobs in the 11 sectors analysed according to the latest EUIPO study. See the Report and Infograph.

The sector most affected by this phenomenon is the “clothing” sector where 3.8 billion euros/year are lost, 14.9% of total sales. This is followed by medicines, cosmetics, wines and spirits and smartphones.

While in products such as beverages, food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals or car components consumers appreciate that they can be harmful to their health and safety, in luxury goods the general public does not perceive as many negative effects from counterfeiting, as they consider them less necessary (leather goods and textiles are the sectors most affected by this problem). However, the drivers of counterfeiting in terms of loss of social rights, mafias and human trafficking are aspects that do impact public opinion. Contributing positively towards these networks by simply purchasing a counterfeit product is a thoughtful exercise that can be encouraged, as is the loss of your rights as a consumer if you purchase counterfeit products.

In the past, most counterfeit products were luxury goods such as expensive handbags, but today products of all kinds are counterfeit, from toys, batteries and perfumes to medicines.

How to avoid counterfeits?

Some tips for checks when buying in stores

  1. The price is suspiciously cheap, be wary of bargains
  2. Product quality is lower than expected, e.g. faulty seams or zips in clothing and leather
  3. Product smells like glue, plastic or chemicals
  4. Packaging, labelling and images are of poor quality
  5. The point of sale is different from the normal one of a product of that kind...

remember, if it is too good to be true, it probably is.

Buying counterfeit products has consequences

For the consumer: products of low quality and without guarantees, loss of the right to complain, risk to health and safety...

For the mafias: contribution to labour exploitation, money laundering, organised crime...

For companies: loss of a lot of money, time in court, unfair competition, damage to your image...

For the country: destruction of jobs, reduction of public income, disincentive to research, development and innovation, damage to the tourist image...

For the environment: production without environmental protection standards or working protocols that promote reduction, recycling or reuse.

Consumer attitudes to counterfeiting:

According to a study carried out in 2014 by the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office, O.A.(SPTO) and the National Association for the Defence of Trademarks (ANDEMA), nearly 5 million people a year buy counterfeit products in Spain, especially in flea markets and on the street, and sales of these are also becoming increasingly more common online. 13.2 million people claim to personally know someone who has bought counterfeits.

The study found that people who buy counterfeits have the following profile:

  • They are young consumers (18 to 29 years old).
  • They live in towns with more than 500,000 inhabitants.
  • They are citizens who regularly make household purchases.
  • They are consumers with a lower degree of brand loyalty.
  • They are less aware of the effects of counterfeiting.
  • They are consumers who seek prestige in branded products.
  • They are consumers who do not want the product to meet their expectations.
  • These are individuals for whom the consumption of brands is not in line with their lifestyle.
  • Counterfeits are bought in the consumer’s environment.
  • Price is the key factor in the decision to purchase counterfeits

© Oficina española de Patentes y Marcas, 2019

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