Implications of Counterfeiting and Piracy for European Competitiveness, Innovation, Economic Growth and Job Losses
Richard Heath, General Trade Mark Counsel, Unilever, UK
Over the years, counterfeiting has become the greatest threat to established trademarks, and therefore brands, across all industry sectors. In the late ‘80s, it was viewed together, with its big sister piracy, as mainly affecting luxury brands and the entertainment industry. But today it is a global problem touching all industries – anything that can be copied, will be copied – it is as simple as that.
The problem is far from new however - as long ago as 1976, fake transistors were found in the US Space Shuttle programme; in 1977 the US FAA discovered fake fire detection systems in the flight decks of a Boeing 737 aircraft; in 1978 heart pumps with fake valves were withdrawn from 266 hospitals across the US and in 1979 Kenya’s coffee crop was decimated after being sprayed with fake Chevron insecticide. Sadly, even counterfeit toys are now regularly making headlines in Europe.
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