Date: 01/07/2020

AmCham IPR Fair: Differences Between Authentic and Counterfeit Products

An online fair was held on the topic of intellectual property protections and the latest trends in counterfeit products

The AmCham Committee for Combatting the Grey Economy organized an online fair in which the most current trends regarding counterfeit products were presented, framed around four industries most impacted by this phenomenon. Participants were introduced to the key differences between genuine and counterfeit products.

Within the pharmaceutical industry the issue of counterfeit drugs was addressed, with most counterfeit drugs often reaching the Serbian market through passenger transport along the tenth corridor. These counterfeit products are often likewise advertised and sold through online stores, the dark-web, and social networks. The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a drastic increase in counterfeit drugs (especially chloroquine-based drugs) and protective equipment (gloves and masks). The counterfeiting of drugs poses a myriad of risks and threats to public health and patient safety, but also economic effects and threats to the reputations of the original manufacturers of the drugs themselves. Companies including Novartis, Eli Lilly and Servier, addressed key differences between their brand’s original products and counterfeit products.

In regard to trends within the tobacco industry, representatives of Philip Morris International (PMI) and Japan Tobacco International (JTI) highlighted that Serbia maintains a negligible percentage of counterfeit tobacco products on the market, but that an opposing trend remains possible given rising prices of legal products. In Europe, there has been an increase in the production of counterfeit tobacco products over the past 4 years, and markets where tobacco products are highly taxed have been greatly affected. Counterfeit tobacco products take a significant share in international organized crime as an activity which can bring potentially high profits and presents a relatively low risk. On this note, participants were introduced to the notable differences in terms of counterfeited products of well-known brands by PMI and JTI.

In regard to the consumer goods industry, it was concluded that in terms of consuming counterfeit products, the best-case outcome for consumers was disappointment with the brand, and the worst-case scenario included potentially serious health problems. Increased demand given the conditions of Covid-19 has led to a higher volume of counterfeited products. The most notable products by Procter & Gamble (P&G), Nestle, Zippo, Epic Games, L'Oreal and Jack Daniels were presented, as well as key elements to pay attention to in order to detect counterfeit goods.

In conclusion, modern industry is perhaps most affected by the emergence of counterfeit products, and imitation products of well-known global brands are found on a range of online sites, from social networks to buying and selling platforms. It is interesting to note how the branding of modern companies have been used illegally in the production of masks for protection against respiratory infections. The growth of e-commerce due to the closure of physical storefronts around the world has contributed to the increased volume of counterfeit products within this industry. The brands Moncler, Valentino, Gucci, Luxottica, Lacoste, Gant, Victoria's Secret and Superdry also illustrated to participants the most common differences found between counterfeited products and their original goods.