Unlike crimes such as murders and robberies, which grab the headlines, counterfeiting is far less publicised, as it is commonly perceived as a victimless crime.
However, counterfeiting is not only one of the largest and most profitable illicit businesses in the world; it is also one of the potentially most dangerous, given its reported links to organised crime and terrorism. The World Customs Organization estimates the international sale of counterfeit goods at $600 billion, which represents 5 to 7 percent of total world trade.
Intellectual property (IP) rights owners are forced to invest significant sums of money to fight against counterfeiting which, if unchallenged, can have a negative impact on the revenue of a business and ultimately jeopardise the viability of a brand.
In Jamaica, illicit CDs and DVDs are readily available and are displayed for sale as a matter of course in major cities and towns. The proliferation of fake designer perfumes, handbags and other articles of clothing is testament to the fact that counterfeiting is a significant problem. The cost-conscious consumer is happy to purchase these ‘designer’ items at far less than half the price of the genuine articles.
Counterfeiting, passing off, Jamaican Copyright Act, customs