Fake Brands – Symbols of Affluence or Mere Folly?

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Indecisive shopping attitude and uninformed (read impulsive) shopping sprees can end up in replicas of brand products – fake in the absolute sense.  And when that is a high end label or a well-known international brand, much is at stake. Both for the buyer and the brand!

In one of my online shopping sprees, I came across a website offering Louis Vuitton’s totes at a marginally low-‘low’ cost. The double emphasis on the word ‘low’ is unusual and so was the offer in question! The website claimed to be part of the LV factory outlet, offering bags, totes and backpacks at a discounted price of more than 70%.

By the virtue of being a Trademarks specialist (and a Louis Vuitton fan), I went ahead and bookmarked the website (http://www.louisvuttionsoutlet.org/) and decided to check its credentials, only to realize that the domain was registered in the name of one Lin Hong Hui from China.

 China – The Hub for Counterfeit Products

China can, for several reasons, be termed as the counterfeit “workshop” of the world. Guangzhou in South China is the epicenter of the world’s LV0counterfeit trade, wholesaling fake leather goods and apparel across the globe. The US customs and Border Protection Agency conducted nearly 25,000 seizures of counterfeit goods in 2013 alone, of which nearly 70% of came from China.

With the growing demand of luxury products and the simultaneous growth of the counterfeits, fighting fakery has indeed become a tough battle.

In 2014, American border officials nabbed counterfeits worth $1.2 billion. Their European Union counterparts seized fake products worth €768m ($1 billion) in 2013. While these numbers may seem high, the reality is that these are just a fraction of the total counterfeits being peddled. Estimates for the total value of fake goods sold worldwide each year could go as high as $1.8 trillion.

The problem has aggravated as the business of counterfeits finds space in the virtual world. America’s trade representatives predicted in April 2015 that online sales of pirated goods might exceed those in physical markets, adding that “Enforcement authorities unfortunately, face difficulties in responding to this trend. Online counterfeiters can stay anonymous, reach across borders and constantly launch new websites to evade legal action”. 

E-commerce – Bane to Luxury Brands

With the growth of e-commerce sales projected at more than US$1.5 trillion by 2018, numerous e-commerce platforms are upping the ante and LV1strengthening their IP enforcement mechanisms. Concerted efforts have been seen by numerous players such as Taobao Marketplace, Alibaba.com, AliExpress, and Tmall.com

In 2013, C2C retailer Taobao Marketplace (founded by the Alibaba Group in 2003) signed an agreement in with Parisian luxury brand Louis Vuitton to establish a cooperation mechanism for IP protection. But the irony here is that till date, Taobao offers wide range of counterfeit Louis Vuitton bags and totes on its website.

Consumers and business owners both play complex roles here. Where few are always on the lookout for genuine products at discounted prices, others prefer them at marginally low prices. Some knowingly hunt for fakes and some are willing to pay the real price for a genuine product! The most troubling situation is for the brand owners, who either remain unwary or rather uninformed about the brand counterfeiting prevalent in the e-domain.

Spotting the difference is the key!

LV2

China’s elite may have become too savvy for Louis Vuitton, but the luxury brand still remains popular among those who wish to own “branded” goods, albeit purchase them at a fraction of the original’s price. But what happens, when you save up your savings to own a ‘genuine’ ‘LV’ and you end up with one which was manufactured at some local store at the Guangzhou district in China? With the growth of e-commerce platforms, counterfeits are just a click away! Spotting the difference and making an informed choice is the key to being a proud owner of the famous label.

Louis Vuitton’s fake cousins

China’s elite may have become too savvy for Louis Vuitton, but the luxury brand still remains popular among those who wish to own “branded” goods, albeit purchase them at a fraction of the original’s price. But what happens, when you save up your savings to own a ‘genuine’ ‘LV’ and you end up with one which was manufactured at some local store at the Guangzhou district in China? With the growth of e-commerce platforms, counterfeits are just a click away! Spotting the difference and making an informed choice is the key to being a proud owner of the famous label.

Originals come with a price and value. Stay original, let the fakes fade away.

Big Brands across the globe are fighting piracy just as much as the music and publishing industries. It is heartening to note a growing number of consumers looking for originals and shunning the fake. For those who wish to continue purchasing high quality products that last longer and come directly from the brand creator, here are a few websites you can refer to while shopping:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_WoiGVWHdw
http://www.forbes.com/pictures/efik45lejf/how-to-spot-a-fake-louis-vuitton-10-questions-to-ask-61/
http://www.ebay.com/gds/How-to-SPOT-fake-LV-LOUIS-VUITTON-authentic-Guide-1-/10000000000021258/g.html

Brands such as Louis Vuitton have a value because of the high quality products they deliver. This means that the cost you pay is worth its shelf life. Support originals. Shun the fake.

(Featured image source: https://vimeo.com/91633200)

Abhilasha Negi
Abhilasha Negi

Abhilasha’s interest in brand protection landed her into a job as a legal expert in trademarks. From Trademarks Searches to Trademarks Portfolio Management, Trademarks Prosecution and Advisory and Protection and Enforcement of IP rights, she loves her brand-loving job. And when she’s not blogging, you can smell appetizing bakes wafting out of her kitchen.


2 Comments

  1. This is very interesting, You are a very skilled blogger. I’ve joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your excellent post. Also, I have shared your website in my social networks!

  2. This blog is very helpful as its very difficult to differentiate branded stuffs, specially in Delhi where we have lot of fake products.

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