Counterfeiting is a very old phenomenon that nowadays is becoming more and more a solid criminal industry, with severe economic and social consequences.
To counterfeit means to imitate something. Counterfeit products are fake replicas of the real product. Counterfeit products are often produced with the intent to take advantage of the superior value of the imitated product. Counterfeit products have a fake company logos and brands.
Counterfeting happens also when a consumer is cheated about the real origin of a product.
It is a crime, punished by article 473 of the Penal Code.
To fight against counterfeiting, the European Union issued Regulations 1383/2003 and 1891/2004, which allow custom authorities to intervene to block all expeditions – import, export or on transit- suspected of infringing an intellectual property right.
According to Regulation 1383/2003 counterfeited goods are:
a) goods, including packaging, bearing without authorisation a trademark identical to the trademark validly registered in respect of the same type of goods, or which cannot be distinguished in its essential aspects from such a trademark, and which thereby infringes the trademark-holder's rights;
b) any trademark symbol (including a logo, label, sticker, brochure, instructions for use or guarantee document bearing such a symbol), even if presented separately, on the same conditions as the goods referred to in point a);
c) packaging materials bearing the trademarks of counterfeit goods, presented separately, on the same conditions as the goods referred to in point a).
Nowadays counterfeiting is a florid commercial activity which does not concern anymore only clothes, ma affects several economic sector.
It is important to remember that the risks of counterfeiting concern also toys, pharmaceuticals, food and exchange products.
Clothes and accessories
When we buy counterfeited clothes or accessories we do not realize the risks we are taking. Clothes are made with toxic materials that can generate allergies. Counterfeited glasses can affect the sight. It is therefore better to buy originals.
Counterfeited food can be a serious risk for the health. The origin of the ingredients is unknown, it does respect security standard and its production is made with illegal substances. Furthermore, basic rules about the expiry date of the ingredients are not taken into consideration.
Counterfeited toys can seriously affect the health of our children. They are made with toxic or inflammable materials regardless of security standards.
Counterfeited cosmetics can contain high percentages of heavy metals, as mercury or lead, which are extremely toxic for our skin. To be put on the market, cosmetics have to respect severe rules, to pass controls and tests and to contain specific and safe ingredients. A counterfeit cosmetic is therefore a serious risk for our health.
Exchange products and electronics
Counterfeited exchange products for car put in danger the driver’s life and the security of the vehicle. Similarly, electronics have to respect precise standards to be sold, if they are counterfeited they can be a real danger for our homes.
Good rules to follow against counterfeiting
- do not buy very cheap products: it can seem a good deal, but it is not;
- do not buy products from unauthorized sellers;
- buy only safe products, in not damaged packaging with the name of the producers. Be sure of the presence of quality marks;
- read carefully the labels;
- remind that buying a counterfeited product means the possibility to be fined from 100 to 7000 euros.