Counterfeit Merchandise

The global market for counterfeit goods has been increasing rapidly. Counterfeited goods accounted for 3-4% of the global trade in the past while according to recent estimates of the International Chamber of Commerce it has increased to 7% and is worth around US$350million (Vagg &amp. Harris, 2000, p.108). The problem is extensive in proportions with the US and EU confiscating around US$94million worth goods and 85million counterfeit products respectively in the years 2002-2003(Hilton, Choi &amp. Chen, 2004, p.345). Counterfeiting is prevalent in many sectors such as software, video, music, toys, aircraft spare parts, medicines, perfumes and fashion merchandise such as handbags, watches, textiles (Vithlani, 1998, p.8). Counterfeiting in the software, music and motion picture industry has been on the increase over the years due to technological innovations, reduced costs of counterfeiting and the ease with which the products can be counterfeited (Vithlani, 1997, p.10). Counterfeit spare parts in the aviation industry and fake medicines have serious and far reaching consequences on the health and safety of the people (Vithlani, 1998, p.15).
The fashion industry has been plagued by the problem of counterfeit products for many years now. Replicating designs and trademark infringements have become a routine occurrence in the industry causing substantial losses in profits and loss of reputation for the original manufacturers. Fashion counterfeiting is especially rampant in UK and Italy. Counterfeits in perfumes are also common and perfume manufacturers spend around 1-2% of their annual revenues to combat counterfeiting.
Many reasons can be cited for the prevalence of counterfeits in the fashion industry. One of the main reasons is that in many countries the trademarks are protected against counterfeiting however, the designs are not protected and don’t come