Intellectual Property Crimes (IP Crimes), such as counterfeiting and piracy are a growing problem for brand owners across the globe. The problem is only growing despite the aggressive efforts of the intellectual property community and law enforcement. These crimes affect brand owners of all types, shapes, and sizes. Intellectual property theft is all about one thing and that is the money. A counterfeiter can make more money selling counterfeit merchandise than selling drugs. Counterfeiting and piracy are truly “low risk, high reward” crimes. Not many counterfeiters are going to prison for 10 years as their counterparts in the drug trade are. Why risk going to prison for 10 years by selling kilos of cocaine, when you can make just as much or more money selling counterfeit handbags, without the risk of going to prison for years.
There has been an increase in the past several years that clearly indicates that organized crime groups, street gangs, and terrorist organizations have turned to selling counterfeit goods to raise money for their criminal organizations. This is another reason why aggressive anti counterfeiting enforcement is so important.
The general public does not really have a true grasp or understanding of the negative effects that counterfeiting and piracy has our communities and economy. There was a study completed in Los Angeles that indicated that intellectual property theft, such as counterfeiting and piracy cost the Los Angeles economy over 283 million dollars in lost tax revenue and 100,00 in the year 2005 alone.
In today’s economic environment it is vital to our economic survival to protect the intellectual property of the very companies that have made the United States of America a leader in creations and innovations that drive the world economy. We need to remember that a majority of the people involved in intellectual property crimes are not paying their fair share of taxes and there are others that are involved in other serious crimes such as money laundering, drug dealing, murder, and child labor.
The public needs to understand that by supporting the counterfeiters and pirates by purchasing these goods, they are supporting other serious crimes also. Counterfeiting and piracy are not victimless crimes. We are all the victims in one way or another.
It is important to understand that the problem of intellectual property theft and counterfeiting is not limited to just luxury items, such as handbags, watches, and jewelry. There are several documented cases involving counterfeit brake pads, aircraft parts, medicines, electrical components, condoms, and food items. The counterfeiters do not care if they risk the safety of the public as long as they are profiting from their theft of someone else’s intellectual property. There have been cases where deaths have been attributed to counterfeiting.
Our company, Investigative Consultants is focused on assisting brand owners in their fight to stop piracy and counterfeiting through innovative and diligent investigations. It is important for every brand owner to have an established and well organized brand protection and anti counterfeiting program to deal with all aspects of protecting their brand. Brand Protection is an essential component of any successful company.
Kris Buckner – Investigative Consultants