Monday, 07 May, 2007 Technology
61
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Fake Products - a Trifle or Economic Crunch?

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Have you ever gone shopping around the stores located on Cermak Road in Chicagos Chinatown? Those who have, no doubt stumbled upon a wide range of fake products featuring designer labels. Customers rest their eyes on rows of fake Rolex watches, Louis Vuitton luggage, Chanel purses, and pairs of Nike Air shoes. It is possible to acquire these items for the more than affordable price of a meal or a cinema ticket.

Owners of the stores are aware they are selling fake goods, as well as the majority of their customers. Nobody would expect to buy an authentic Cartier watch for just $100. But savvy customers think it's a bargain. If to take into account a working-class budget, it seems just fine to purchase such a 'high class accessory'.

The following are some alarming facts about counterfeiting:
  • Counterfeit goods production has risen by over 10,000 percent during the past two decades, partially as a result of existing consumer demand.
  • As reported by the IACC (International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition), fake product sales reach the amazing number of about $600 billion worldwide. They make up 7 percent of all products traded around the world.
  • According to the data provided by the Department of Homeland Security, in 2006 in the U.S., seizure of counterfeit products increased by 83 percent. The department fulfilled more than 14,000 seizures worth approximately $155 million.
  • As stated by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, counterfeiting has resulted in over 750,000 Americans losing their jobs.
  • As estimated by the World Health Organization, 10 percent of all medications worldwide are fake.
  • In April 2007 only in Chicago police confiscated about 13,000 pairs of fake Nike shoes - their total value is $1.1 million.

Most people buying a replica watch or a fake handbag think they are doing an absolutely reasonable thing. They are purchasing a 'luxury' item bearing a world-famous brand name. They will be able to show it off to colleagues and friends. They are not bothered at all that everyone knows it's a fake. A lot of fake products look good.

Experts involved in cases considering intellectual property rights want customers to realize the reverse of the coin. American lawyers, and other specialists, who deal with rising customers' awareness about negative effects caused by fake goods business, try to change the situation. They want shoppers change the way they think about counterfeit luxury goods. Customers have to realize what kind of activities they involuntarily support. Americans should be socially responsible enough to give up shopping for counterfeit goods.

Fake watches, shoes and other products lead to legitimate manufactures' considerable loss in profits. As for retailers, they lose not only in profits but also jobs, while the community doesn't receive proper tax revenues. Moreover, what most people do nor realize is the fact that fake goods business is linked to bad working conditions, organized crime, child labor and terrorism.

Fake goods business is a serious problem to be resolved by all industries, from wallets and DVDs to drugs. To buy a replica watch or another counterfeit item, you do not have to shop at street corners or other shady places – fake goods are available through major chain stores and even some pharmacies.

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