Nov 22, 2018

Counterfeit condoms: the riskiest intellectual property infringement going?

At one time or another even the most morally incorruptible person has considered the benefit of buying a counterfeit product or watching a pirated stream. Whether that is fake Oakley sunglasses,  Chanel handbags or Rolex watches, counterfeit perfume or make up, or a pirated stream of a pay per view sports event, piracy and counterfeiting are prevalent in modern society.

However, one of the biggest problems with piracy and counterfeiting comes when an unsuspecting legitimate consumer unwittingly purchases a counterfeit product. If knowingly buying a knock-off skincare product, most would exercise extra care and apply a "test patch" to check for a reaction. The same isn't true if a consumer doesn't know the product is counterfeit. That is one of the warnings most often doled out by the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit when suggesting more vigilance against piracy.

It makes sense, therefore, that the 500,000 boxes of counterfeit condoms seized by Chinese authorities on Tuesday were intended for sale to customers who did not know of their counterfeit status: because really, who trusts a dodgy condom?

The authorities say that the shipment would have been worth $7m if authentic: that is a lot of condoms. Given its vast population, condom sales are significant in China. It has been reported that condom counterfeiting has been a problem in China for some years, and it is compounded by supermarkets and pharmacies being duped in to stocking them. That means that the ultimate user is unlikely to know that the condom is a counterfeit until it is much too late.

If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniel & Co. on 0191 281 4000 or



in: Copyright, EU/International

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