Intellectual property enforcement
The trade in counterfeited goods and pirated copyright protected works - often referred to as counterfeits, fakes or knock offs – is a growing problem around the world.
The OECD estimated that the global trade in counterfeit goods and pirated works was valued at US$200 billion in 2005 growing to an estimated US$250 billion by 2007. Estimates exclude the value of infringing digital works traded as well as domestically created and traded counterfeit goods.
New Zealand is not immune to the problem. Trade mark owners and copyright holders are reporting a growth in the sale of counterfeits here. This is reflected in New Zealand Customs Service statistics showing that more counterfeits are being found at the border.
Impacts of counterfeiting
The sale of counterfeits deprives honest businesses of income, deters investment in quality products and services, and damages the profitability of creative and innovative industries.
There is growing evidence that counterfeits can also pose serious health and safety risks through the use of inferior quality and sometimes poisonous ingredients and materials and manufacturing processes.
What gets counterfeited?
Historically the types of goods commonly targeted by counterfeiters are luxury items, because their retail price often greatly exceeds their costs to manufacture and distribute. Typical counterfeits include fashion clothing, footwear, accessories, perfume, sunglasses, handbags, watches, caps and jewellery. Advances in new technologies now means that many other types of goods are also able to be counterfeited, such as auto parts, electronics goods, motorcycles, cigarettes, medicines, sporting equipment, toys, drinks and foodstuffs.
New technologies have also facilitated the digital copying, distribution and sale of copyright protected works, especially e-books, films, music and software.