February 17th 2015

Tonight the Dutch TV show Opgelicht ! (Cheated!) reported on the biggest counterfeit scandal of 2014. The organized Italian crime trading in dangerous counterfeit power generators, imported from China.

Three anti-counterfeit golden rules I would like to share with you.

The golden rule # 1 remains : If it is too good to be true, it is too good to be true.

Online marketplaces are a free place for counterfeit traders to offer their products.

Seemingly harmless counterfeited products like fashion and fragrances are often bought by naive bargain hunters, but when a power generator risks to explode in your face things are getting more serious… Consumer safety is a cornerstone of the EU market and it is a political choice to make this counterfeit power generator network a top priority for EUROPOL.

However also counterfeit consumer electronics and fragrances and textile products can pose a threat to consumer safety. Often counterfeit products contain prohibited dyestuffs, phthalates (making plastics weak) and prohibited ingredients on the EU Cosmetics Directive. Cheap can be dangerous.

Dutch consumers are warned.

Golden rule #2: If you want to be sure to buy a low priced product which is genuine do not go to a black market or car boot sale, and do not buy from unregistered companies active on internet. Check the Chamber of Commerce before buying.

Consumers who want to be fooled will always be there, and counterfeit traders too. Counterfeit sellers who want to make money are today’s economy’s parasites. Persistant and resistant as they are, they can only to be stopped by taking their money. This often can be done successfully, thanks to increased public/private cooperation between authorities (Customs, Police) and brand owners.

Golden rule #3: Brand owners have to make sure to focus on making the counterfeiters pay back. The EU legal framework is a toolbox filled with material to protect the trademark owners against counterfeit, but not always the right tools are being used.

Brand owners with an effective bottom-up approach in anti-counterfeit make the difference from indifferent competitors, prey to reckless counterfeiters.

Keep CalmGie van den Broek

Attorney at Law at Legal Experience Advocaten N.V.

Published originally on LinkedIn