Companies now organize more anti-counterfeit programs and spend more money on them than ever before. More than half of top managers say that fighting fakes is a critical priority, according to recent research of MarkMonitor, and they are ready to invest even more than now. It makes sense because counterfeiters are not small shops anymore but rather operators of huge manufacturing capacities, sometimes even bigger than original brand producers, say Optaglio´s consultants Libor Sustr and Petr Hampl in their article for Packaging Digest.
However, the counterfeiters adapt themselves to the new situation fast. Statistics of European Custome Office show declining number of captured fakes but growth in overall value. Attackers concentrate on more expensive products and learn more sophisticated technologies. According to preliminary data of Intl. Trademark Assn., the total cost of fakes exceeded $500 billion last year.
The anti-counterfeiting landscape is changing, and packaging producers should acknowledge it. Here is a summary of critical general guidelines.There are three basic strategies for protection. They are not mutually exclusive, are often implemented together and have limitations:
1. Use law protection and enforcement to prevent counterfeiters from getting to the markets. To this group of provisions, attempts to move costs to the third parties, such as the market operators, can also be counted. Amazon, Alibaba and other big ecommerce companies now face lawsuits for failing to do enough to protect their markets against fakes.
Limitation: Such provision can lead to the destruction of some markets.
Some products have already been delisted from Amazon. After all, some consultants recommend to limit the number of sales points and dealers or implement exclusive dealership. Anti-counterfeit protection is thus paid by a loss of opportunities.
Moreover, law enforcement needs a kind of proof—so provisions from the next two strategies need to be implemented.