In a further example of the widespread availability of counterfeit goods border officials have revealed that they have seized counterfeit Calvin Klein pants worth £1.5m. The revelation forms part of a wider campaign from the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) to seek to raise awareness of and fight fake goods.
As well as the pants border officials have also seized fake Apple chargers and Dyson fans worth over £180,000 and over 1,500 Pandora Charms worth approximately £45,000. These examples are being used to drive home to consumers the risks associated with buying cheaper but invariably inferior and sometimes dangerous counterfeits at Christmas. Though the risks associated with fake electrical goods may seem obvious, the IPO is using humour to highlight the risks associated with seemingly more benign goods such as underpants.
The IPO has used its Youtube account to create a series of videos in which a couple sing about their experiences with 12 days of using counterfeit products including days of rashes and injuries from sickly smelling perfume and whisky containing anti-freeze. The Christmas period traditionally sees a surge in counterfeit products entering the market and though the IPO constantly warns of the dangers of these products it hopes that using a more light hearted tone this year will help the message to reach more people.
Counterfeiters have time and again shown an ability to spot trends that would be the envy of many retailers which is reflected by what have been popular counterfeit goods in years past. These include Beats by Dr Dre headphones in 2013, hoverboards in 2015 and Pokemon toys last year.
Though the IPO has adopted a humorous tone to convey its message this year, it is keen to stress the underlying seriousness of that message. It has stressed the inferior, dangerous quality of counterfeit goods and highlighted the enormous profits that counterfeiters make at the expense of consumers and intellectual property rights holders. With a report showing that in 2016 counterfeit goods cost the UK economy £17.3 billion there can be no doubt of the importance of the message that the IPO is sending.