Counterfeiting and piracy are global issues. The United States, France, Switzerland, and Germany were most affected by counterfeiting activity in a 2016 study; however, increases were noted in Singapore, Hong Kong, Brazil, China, and other emerging markets. (OECD, 2019) Countries worldwide are impacted by product fakes in the marketplace.
Counterfeit comes with high economic and monetary losses. It is estimated that counterfeit goods in the US alone cost the economy US$600 Billon per year, which is roughly 3% of Gross Domestic Product. (Schlesinger, 2019) According to the Trends in Trade in Counterfeit and Pirated Goodsreport issued by OECD.org, in the European Union alone, counterfeit trade represented 6.8% of imports from non-EU countries. These figures do not include domestically produced counterfeit goods or pirated products distributed over the Internet. (OECD, 2019)
Counterfeiting impacts most business sectors and is most pervasive in the textiles and consumer goods markets. Footwear, clothing, and leather goods account for the top three industries most hit. (OECD, 2019)
Let’s be clear, counterfeiting and piracy are theft. The criminality surrounding counterfeiting often funds other illegal activity, which frequently strengthens criminal organizations. The escalation of criminal activity creates cascading negative societal consequences. (International Chamber of Commerce, 2017)
Although we may be familiar with knock-off products showing up in the retail space, counterfeiting’s invasive nature also rears its head in the testing realm. Counterfeiters increasingly use new technologies and 3D printing to make it harder to spot fakes of quality control materials. They also use new processes to hijack well-known brands to get their products on established e-commerce sites.
For labs, it is important to have standardized authentic quality control materials and testing supplies. Bad actors may try to provide counterfeit AATCC QC products or pirated copies of test standards. How do you know if your product is genuine?
AATCC QC Products purchased directly from AATCC are genuine. AATCC directly supports products purchased through its website or order team. Authorized resellers also provide genuine AATCC products. Product support, however, should be directed to the reseller who will work with AATCC to resolve any concerns. If you are not sure you are dealing with an authorized reseller, vet their business before engaging their services. Ask them for proof that they are customers of AATCC. You can also review the AATCC Buyers Guide located on the AATCC website. If you are still in doubt, remember you can purchase directly from AATCC.
International Chamber of Commerce. (2017, July 6). https://iccwbo.org/media-wall/news-speeches/5-ways-counterfeiting-hurts-society-and-what-we-can-do-about-it/. Retrieved from https://iccwbo.org/media-wall/news-speeches/5-ways-counterfeiting-hurts-society-and-what-we-can-do-about-it/
OECD. (2019, March 18). OECD.org. Retrieved from OECD.org: https://www.oecd.org/newsroom/trade-in-fake-goods-is-now-33-of-world-trade-and-rising.htm
Schlesinger, J. a. (2019, March). Here’s how the trade war could lead to a boom in counterfeit goods. Retrieved from CNBC: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/13/heres-how-the-trade-war-could-lead-to-a-boom-in-counterfeit-goods.html