Most readers of this blog are highly likely to have come across, or even bought, a product that pretended to be something which it was not. If this has gone completely unnoticed, you were indeed deceived, but should nevertheless consider yourself lucky. Why? Counterfeit products are not only detrimental to companies, industries and whole economies, but can also pose significant threats to human health, the environment and society at large. Just think of pharmaceuticals, food, drinks, clothing and many other consumer products which, if counterfeited, are likely to contain cheap and often toxic, potentially life-threatening chemicals.
The International Trademark Association (INTA)
defines counterfeiting as “the practice of manufacturing, importing/exporting, distributing, selling or otherwise dealing in goods, often of inferior quality, under a trademark that is identical to or substantially indistinguishable from a registered trademark, without the approval or oversight of the registered trademark owner.” According to the INTA, counterfeits are most commonly called ‘fake goods’ or ‘knock-offs.’ Many well-known and successful brands, spanning various industries, are victims of counterfeiting.
Counterfeit Goods Market Value
, a global provider of information on black market activities, values the counterfeit goods market at USD 653.77 billion. This figure is based on data collected from government agencies, academic studies, media reports and other credible, open-source documents. Havocscope’s calculation of worldwide losses to counterfeiting takes into account 26 different counterfeit products and the economic impact of counterfeit goods and piracy in 88 countries. In other words, the figure of USD 653.77 billion, already astonishing, is far from exhaustive, meaning that the actual value of the counterfeit goods market is much higher.
The fake and the original can sometimes be difficult to tell apart or their difference in quality easy to underestimate, but the potential damage resulting from the use of counterfeit products, regardless of their size, can be immense.
Fight Fake Products Initiative
Among the commodities not taken into account by Havocscope are steel products in general and pipes and piping materials for the oil & gas industry in particular. To combat the increasing level of counterfeiting in this area, a group of reputable international manufacturers has recently established an initiative aptly named ‘Fight Fake Products.’ Although competitors on the open market, they have united in a common cause against unfair competition. This move was occasioned by the realisation of the existence and proliferation of a parallel market in which quality is replaced by a search for the cheapest product. Determined to fight these illegal actions with all possible means, the participating manufacturers realise that a strong cooperation at all levels will be required, from governments and official agencies to end-users. Currently the initiative is focusing on identifying common strategies to fight the counterfeiting market which is harmful and dangerous for all players involved (manufacturers, distributors, trading companies, EPC contractors, end-users). It goes without saying that approved products are not only safer, but also deliver guarantees in terms of endurance.
To learn more about the initiative, visit the Fight Fake Products website.