WHY WE AUTHENTICATE
You might be asking yourself, should we even care if we find vendors online that sell fake designer items? What’s so wrong with buying counterfeit designer goods? Does it even matter if you buy a fake designer purse or pair of shoes? The short answer is yes, absolutely, yes. Producing and selling counterfeit merchandise is illegal because it violates trademark and copyright law in the United States. Current trademark law in the U.S. and many other countries around the globe prohibits trademark dilution and trademark infringement.
HOW CAN REGISTERED TRADEMARKS HELP IDENTIFY COUNTERFEITS
Trademarks allow the public to distinguish one company’s products from another. Registered trademarks often include business or product names, key phrases, designs, or marks. These special markers help identify the source and manufacturers of products to enable the public to identify merchandise sources. Obtaining a federal registration from the Patent and Trademark Office makes it illegal for another to use that same registered trademark. Each state also has its own trademark laws, as do most countries outside of the United States. Infringements are based on the “likelihood of confusion” standard.
IS IT OKAY TO BRAG ABOUT BUYING FAKE BAGS ONLINE?
Reflecting back a few years, buying fake items and using them was a dirty little secret. Everyone knew it was wrong and had a certain amount of shame for it. You wouldn’t know that today while scrolling through the comments on #fakebags TikTok posts. There is not only a lack of outrage but the comments are filled with outpouring support. Gone are the days where saving for that special designer purchase is treasured and celebrated. Instant gratification and bragging about it have replaced the specialness of owning a beautiful, designer bag for the first time.
Knowingly buying a fake and being accidentally tricked into buying a fake are two completely different things. Yet, buying fakes, regardless of intention, still negatively impacts society the same. First, we need to address the people who see scoring a counterfeit bag online as a badge of honor. Then we need to empower everyone to avoid being a victim by unintentionally supporting scammers and criminals.
WHY COUNTERFEITS ARE TERRIBLE FOR SOCIETY
Purchasing counterfeit items are often linked to crimes such as helping fund terrorism acts and encourages the following activities to help meet demands: human trafficking and child labor. Purchasing counterfeit designer handbags, wallets, and sunglasses is also linked to gang activity and drug smuggling. Not only are counterfeit items linked to crimes, but they can also ruin the reputation of luxury fashion brands. Imagine the following scenario: a counterfeit Chanel handbag purchased by someone on Amazon or eBay could have been stitched by a young child kidnapped from their family, then the money used from the sale funds criminal activities such as human trafficking, purchasing weapons, or drugs, etc. Negative impacts of counterfeiting in 2017 were projected to drain $4.2 trillion from the global economy, and at least $70 million came from counterfeit handbag purchases. Further, the production of counterfeit goods operates in complete disregard to any environmental regulations, often subjecting their workers and surrounding communities, not to mention the end product consumer, with heightened environmental and health risks. Those knockoff Yeezy sneakers you just bought your toddler probably contain more toxic lead paint than you’d ever find present on a garment produced under standard government regulations. If you have ever received a product in the mail that smells of gasoline or plastic chemicals, you’ve likely received a counterfeit good that could leave detrimental effects on your personal health.
HARMFUL EFFECTS OF THE COUNTERFEITING INDUSTRY
– Impacts the economy (local and global)
– Jeopardizes the job market
– Supports child labor
– Promotes organized crime
– Cheap quality products
– Undermines innovation
– Diminished designer brand value
– Negatively impacts the environment
– Hazardous to personal health
MAYBE YOU MISTAKENLY BOUGHT A FAKE BAG OR ITEM
“But they bought this directly from the boutique” is no longer enough an excuse to buy fake luxury brand handbags. Scammers return counterfeit goods to the original in-store, an online boutique, or even the outlet mall. And guess who gets stuck with the counterfeit bag? YOU…and you may not even realize it.
An unknowing, untrained shopper wouldn’t think twice about brand authenticity when purchasing directly from the brand itself. To make matters even more questionable, sales associates are not trained to detect high-quality fakes. Imagine the sales associate was hired just a few short months ago, and they are still new to the industry. Scammers even use insider employees to return the knowingly fake merchandise as well as advanced and human engineering to pass fake returns as real.
As we have seen far too many times before, counterfeiters know they can sneak by sales associates quite easily. Knockoff bags quality is getting better as the years have gone by, but so have other fashion categories such as jewelry, streetwear, and sneakers.