Is This Real(ly) Fake?

May 10, 2017

Did you read the article “Criminal in Jamaica Making and Selling Potentially Deadly Fake Rum” in the 3 May 2017 Caymanian Times? It not only focused on the fake rum being produced and sold by these criminals, but on other counterfeit goods sold in Jamaica – in some instances, to pay for illegal guns and ammunition. According to this article, US$14.8 million in counterfeit products were seized last year alone. Yes, you read that right – US$14.8 million!

You see, there’s no shortage of fake goods on the market. From counterfeit handbags to engine parts, anything that turns a profit is being counterfeited. According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, counterfeits had a value of US$461 billion in 2013, about the same as the illegal drug trade! How’s that for perspective?

Speaking of drugs, you need to know that counterfeit medications are made in deplorable facilities all over the world, with printer ink giving fake Viagra that exact shade of blue. With apparel, in November 2016 a container stuffed with 16,454 pairs of fake sneakers was seized in Chile. Ranging from Adidas to Nike (which, by the way, is the most copied brand in the world) the sneakers came from China with a value of US$32 million. This was the fifth most valuable counterfeit seizure in the world!

By providing companies with exclusive rights, IP controls the reproduction of products to ensure authenticity for the buying public. Companies are also more likely to invest time and money in fighting counterfeiters when their IP rights and investments, are adequately protected.

I’ll be the first to admit that “intellectual property” sounds like some high-tech, far-fetched term to protect the 1%. I get it. And this is why CIIPO constantly educates the people of Cayman, including through this column, because IP affects us all, whether or not we think it does.

We all use technology, listen to music, read books or watch TV. We all purchase products based on how much we trust the brands. This is what intellectual property is about. It makes our lives healthier, safer, and easier – but if we don’t respect IP, the risks include wasting our money (like spending money on fake Nikes that barely last a month) or compromising our health.

This is why CIIPO urges you to be aware, and vigilant in the way you spend your hard-earned dollars – and also to respect IP rights as you get creating, Cayman! 

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