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A counterfeit Ferrari Vertu phone.
Notice that the writing says

A counterfeit is an imitation, usually one that is made with the intent of fraudulently passing it off as genuine, so as to deceive or defraud. Because of the often high level of technical skill required to create imitations, counterfeiting is singled out from other acts of forgery. Counterfeiting is a huge problem accounting for hundreds of millions of pounds in lost revenues. It is a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment or heavy fines in most jurisdictions.

Software, Computer and electronic equipment, CD, DVD's, credit cards, branded and designer clothing, watches and money are among the items commonly counterfeited.

The spread of counterfeit goods / knock-offs has become global in recent years as more companies, in an effort to save costs, and increase profits have shifted manufacturing / production to cheaper labour markets of the third world, countries that often have poor intellectual property rights enforcement regimes, weaker labour laws and environmental regulations respectively.

The result is that unscrupulous factory owners, some of whom have little regard or loyalty to the original company,commonly viewing the profits made by the original company as exploitatory, will attempt marketing the goods/technology directly to consumers (or the original company's clients), even though they often have no legal proprietary right to such goods/ technology. In the absence of IP rights & effective contracts, it becomes extremely difficult to prevent this practice.

It has been widely reported that most counterfeit goods originate from China, Russia, Thailand, Argentina, India and Turkey, although there are other countries such as Vietnam, Venezuela, Israel and Ukraine which have also seen an increases in counterfeit production in recent years. Most troubling is that some counterfeits are in fact produced in the same factories in which original, authentic products originate, using the same materials, making it impossible to distinguish a fake from the authentic article.

There are many ways in that a business may reduce the probability of becoming a victim of counterfeiting, although because of the scale of the problem, and the sophistication of some counterfeitors, commonly operating together with criminal gangs, theres never a guarantee that any goods/ products can be immune from counterfeiting.

However, business owners can put in place measures that reduce the risk. Among them is to ensure that wherever possible, they manufacture various parts of an item in independent factories, thereby limiting the supply of certain distinguishing parts to the factory that performs the final assembly. It is also a good idea for inventory to account for every part used, and to retain any unused, faulty or damaged parts so as to keep track of products and parts. Use of serial numbers and/or holograms, anti-counterfeiting labels, RFID tags may also assist in establishing authenticity/ tracking goods.

But most importantly, it is crucial to have adequate IP protection in place in the jurisdiction of manufacture prior to any disclosure or manufacturing negotiations, primarily because it is the IP rights, which in an instance of counterfeiting, will enable an IP proprietor to seek redress through the courts of the jurisdiction in question. Further, if any rights are acquired or transferred prior to trading, or after trading or manufacturing has commenced, it is crucial that adequate measures be undertaken to ensure that the transfer of rights is legally binding, and was dealt with comprehensively, with adequate contracts in place, and explicitly stating what has been transferred, in line with the legal requirements of transferring IP rights of the country.


Counterfeit medicines pose a public health risk because
their content can be dangerous or they can lack active
ingredients, leading to side effects, treatment failure
or even death.

Mancunium IP works collaboratively with a network of trustworth associates (Solicitors, Attorneys, Lawyers and other professionals) who are authorised to act in IP matters, and who assist in protecting our clients IP in the Uk and foreign territories against counterfeiting, including requesting delivery-up of counterfeit products, commencing proceedings, conducting raids, etc.

If you would like more information or think your business may have become a victim of counterfeiting, you can contact us here. Alterntatively email us on here

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Articles, Links & booklets

World Health Organisation - Counterfeit Medicines key facts.

Anti Counterfeiting Group