UK launches new anti‑counterfeiting campaign

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The United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO) has launched a new campaign to deter the purchase of counterfeits. Using targeted communications, the aim is to raise awareness of the risks of counterfeits and reduce the demand for fake goods.

In late February, the UK IPO (Intellectual Property Office of the United Kingdom) launched what it claims is its largest communications campaign against counterfeiting to date. The new campaign focuses in particular on counterfeit beauty and hygiene products – according to findings of the UK IPO, consumers are often particularly ill‑informed about the risks of respective counterfeit products.

//“Our counter‑infringement strategy sets out the path ahead as we work together toward the long‑term goal of making IP crime and infringement unacceptable to all. (…) Our industry partners are a powerful and persuasive voice, and brand‑owners can play a vital role in helping to educate and empower the public.”
Adam Williams, Chief Executive and Comptroller, UK IPO

Adopting the design of typical cosmetics advertising, the UK IPO aims to effectively draw attention to the sometimes shocking circumstances in which counterfeits are produced, using influencers, social media ads, and press work. According to the UK IPO, many customers are not aware of this. Rather, buyers apparently wrongly assume that counterfeits are typically produced under similar or the same conditions as originals, according to UK IPO research. With the new campaign, the UK IPO now wants to dispel this misconception.

According to the agency, tests of confiscated counterfeit cosmetics found carcinogenic and harmful ingredients, including beryllium oxide, arsenic, lead, and mercury. And the locations where the counterfeits were confiscated or presumably manufactured were apparently unhygienic. This was shown, for example, by tests in which rodent urine and equine faeces had been found in the samples, the UK IPO said. The agency now wants to publish such findings in its campaign to deter and inform customers. This aims to ultimately encourage consumers to make more informed purchasing decisions and thus reduce the demand for counterfeit products.

The UK IPO’s new campaign is part of its five‑year strategy against IP infringements and to increase public understanding of the risks of counterfeiting. According to a study by the EUIPO, the cosmetics industry is one of the sectors particularly affected by counterfeiting. In the EU alone, companies reportedly lose around 3 billion euros each year due to counterfeiting in this industry, and around 30,000 jobs are lost.

Source: UK IPO

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