Navigating the World of Counterfeit Syndicates and Transnational Organised Crime

Forensic & Litigation Consulting

July 2, 2013

Many brand owners see their brand protection problem as epitomised by low level standalone targets, and ROI is often judged by the number of fake products seized. Companies spend more and more resources and money on attacking the problem at a “street cleaning” level, but do little or nothing to confront the causation factors. Unfortunately, they often continue to ignore the ever increasing body of evidence that counterfeiting is an organised criminal activity with transnational characteristics, which is particularly the case in China. Brand owners continue to ignore the fact that since China became a full member of World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 2001, PRC counterfeiters have moved from local to global and the capacity for China-based production to disrupt markets halfway around the world is an ever increasing phenomenon.

The Scene of the Crime: Taking a look at today’s counterfeiting landscape

There is no shortage of evidence to demonstrate the growing trend and nature of counterfeiting and transnational organised crime:

  • The International Criminal Court (ICC) initiative, with the support of its Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) endorsed studies conducted by the Organisation of Economic and Cultural Development (OECD) in 2011, which estimated international and domestic trade in counterfeiting and piracy was between US$425 and US$585 billion in 2008 and projected this could rise to between US$1.14 and US$1.53 trillion by 2015.
  • In 2011, US Customs and Border Protection reported a 24 percent increase in counterfeit seizures over 2010 (retail value in excess of US$1 billion).
  • European Union Customs seized over 103 million counterfeit items at its external borders in nearly 80,000 detentions in 2011.

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