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How to Spot Fakes: Counterfeit Licensed Products

Posted by Bill Patterson

Jun 8, 2012 6:53:00 AM

The issue of counterfeiting has long been a serious threat to businesses all over the globe, costing the U.S. economy nearly $200 billion per year. We’ve all seen fake designer purses, watches, and sunglasses, but these are not the only items counterfeiters try to imitate. The release of popular feature films, cartoons, and games brings with it a plethora of new opportunities for counterfeiters.  Counterfeiters flock to B2B trade boards to sell illicit merchandise, compromising sales of legitimately licensed products. Following are some key suspicious indicators for merchandise of popular children’s characters:

    • Multiple Licensees: When a seller offers merchandise from multiple licensees, it’s always suspicious. In this listing, in which the seller is offering SpongeBob SquarePants merchandise, they also list the following: Disney merchandise and party goods, such as Sesame Street,winnie the pooh,High School Musical,ben 10,Princess,Mickey mouse,Superman,bratz,Spiderr-man,Cars,Hannahh montana,Barbie Doll,SNOOPY,Dora, and so on We also can specially tail

    • Poor Packaging: Always take a close look at the packaging in the photos of a listing. This listing for an iPhone case featuring SpongeBob SquarePants features the merchandise in plastic with no authentication or naming. However, keep in mind that even if the packaging appears suspect, it can be deceptive. Sellers often take photos of one authentic item and then do a bait and switch. For example, this listing of a Hulk doll could potentially fall into this category as it features other suspicious indicators—the seller has only been a member since May 2012 and there is no customer feedback.

    • Seller Will Only Communicate Online: Deliberately keeping communication between the seller and the buyer at an arm’s length is another suspicious indicator. This listing for Hulk figurines emphasizes the following: We are professional mamanufacturer and we also have trade company to do hair extensions bussiness.,. we will quote you a best price., please chat online.We are professional mamanufacturer and we also have trade company to do hair extensions bussiness.,. we will quote you a best price., please chat online.

    • Keep An Eye on New Members: New members that join a trade board are always suspect. The seller in this listing for Transformers masks has only been a member since April 2012.

    • Suspicious Payment Forms: Pay attention to payment methods on every site. This listing for a Dora the Explorer costume only accepts the following: paypal, western uinon, money gram,T/T

Deep discounts being offered on B2B trade boards are also a red flag. Authorized retailers do not usually sell at discounted prices, so a “wholesale” price can generally mean you aren’t getting the real thing. And, as always, keep in mind that if a product is out there, it is probably being counterfeited.

Topics: Counterfeiting, Consumer Goods, Intellectual Property, How To Spot Fakes


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