Counterfeit goods are anything which are a copy of something else and are sold as if they were the genuine article. Counterfeit goods are a huge problem and they are becoming more widely available. With relatively sophisticated manufacturing techniques, counterfeiters are able to make large quantities of accurate copies for relatively little money.
It is unlawful to apply a registered trademark to goods, or to make an exact copy of goods that have the benefit of a registered trademark registration, without the permission of the trademark owner.
Even where goods are not subject to a trademark registration, it is sometimes still possible to bring an action against someone making copies of goods, or attaching marks to goods, without the permission of the person already trading in those goods and associated marks. This is called a "passing-off" action.
Copyright may exist in certain goods, such as artistic designs on clothing, computer programs, CDs, DVDs and other electronic media. An infringement of copyright may occur where such goods are copied without the permission of the copyright owner.
Infringing goods are generally known as 'counterfeit' or 'pirated' goods.
Top tips to avoid buying fakes include:
There are lots of reasons why you should not buy fakes, some of which you may not have considered before.
is a coalition of British trade associations and industry enforcement organisations with an interest in preventing counterfeiting and piracy in the UK. It aims to help legitimate business flourish, so that consumers are not put at risk by exposure to substandard and potentially dangerous merchandise.
has further advice on how to avoid buying fakes.