Home
Order
News & Media
Contact
Product Authenticity and Anti-Counterfeiting FAQ
  1. How big is the counterfeiting problem?
  2. What countries are the largest sources of counterfeit goods?
  3. What are the most common counterfeit goods?
  4. Are counterfeit goods unsafe?
  5. What about counterfeit medicine?
  6. What action is being taken to stop counterfeit goods?
  7. What can we do to prevent counterfeiting?
  1. How big is the counterfeiting problem?
    It is estimated that counterfeiting is a $600 billion a year worldwide problem. Product counterfeiting has grown over 10,000% in the past two decades and continues to grow. It is estimated that counterfeit goods currently account for 5-7% of world trade. Costs to US businesses are estimated to be between $200- $250 billion annually. The trade in counterfeit goods has been described as much larger and more profitable than the drug trade.
  2. What countries are the largest sources of counterfeit goods?
    The OECD report found that counterfeit products are being produced in virtually all economies with Asia as the largest producing region, accounting for 69.7% of all seizures. According to US Customs, China is overwhelming the chief source followed by Hong Kong, Taiwan, Pakistan and Egypt.
  3. What are the most common counterfeit goods?
    The range of counterfeited goods touches almost all industries. Among seizures made by US Customs, footwear accounted for 40% of the goods, followed by wearing apparel (13%), consumer electronics (principally batteries) (8%), watches, handbags, pharmaceuticals, network hardware and sunglasses. Other counterfeited goods include: automotive parts and products; chemicals; electrical components; food, drink and agricultural products; tobacco; toiletries; toys and games; sporting goods; fabrics; belt buckles; decals; flags; qualification certificates; tableware; and plumbing products.
  4. Are counterfeit goods unsafe?
    The auto industry has found enough counterfeit parts to build a whole car, including brakes made of compressed grass and wood sold in American stores. Investigators also found counterfeit toothpaste in Panama that contained antifreeze.
  5. What about counterfeit medicine?
    A recent FDA/U.S. Customs investigation revealed that 88% of the imported pharmaceuticals examined contain unapproved drugs, many of which could be harmful.
  6. What action is being taken to stop counterfeit goods?
    In the United States, the Customs Agency is limited in its effectiveness in preventing counterfeit goods. According to a Customs spokesperson, the agency is primarily concerned with preventing terrorist attacks and with ensuring that there is a free flow of trade. A modest number of Customs agents limits the agency?s ability to inspect and seize counterfeit goods. For instance, there are 300 inspectors at the Port of Los Angeles which has over 9 million containers arriving annually.
  7. What can we do to prevent counterfeiting?
    If a company can identify counterfeit goods, US Customs will help enforce the laws. However, Customs has limited reach in collecting fines or making assessments against those who have been found importing counterfeit goods. Collection rates have never been greater than 1% of the assessed penalties.

    It is much more effective for companies to interdict the flow of counterfeit goods either at the points of origin or within the channels of distribution. For this, companies need strategies that include various layers of security. Counterfeiters have learned to duplicate various types of security measures, so it is important to use a combination of overt and covert techniques simultaneously.