Piracy has become one of the world’s most successful industry. It is also one of the fastest growing sectors with billions of dollars in annual revenues. The consumers, on one hand, wouldn’t mind buying a knock off pair of Louboutin for a tenth of the original price.
If only fashion designers can completely lock and seal away their designs, then they should use the best commercial locksmiths. However, that’s not the case. Once they put out their signature products in the market, they are inviting paying customers as well as counterfeiters.
In Europe, where some of the major fashion brands are based, counterfeit fashion products have slashed almost 10 percent of the businesses’ revenues. But nothing’s new here, really. Around 1900s, counterfeiters have been around France copying the designs they see. No wonder that by 1914, there are at least 2 million imitations of couture brands.
China’s Counterfeit Industry
It is a common knowledge that most of the counterfeit products that are currently in stores and in online shops are from China. As a matter of fact, these Chinese fashion forgers have long been bothering owners of posh brands. As a measure to protect the intellectual property rights of these plush brands, Burberry, Chanel, Prada, Louis Vuitton and Gucci filed a lawsuit against Beijing’s Silk Market. Surprisingly, the majority of the consumers of these fake items is Westerners, which are the same people who are complaining about fake items.
Apart from these obvious counterfeits, there are new knock off products that are becoming a favorite among Chinese consumers. These items are called “tong kuan” or products that look like the original brand. Instead of mimicking, let’s say a Michael Kors bag, Chinese counterfeiters will copy the item but label it with a different name. Sometimes, the names of these counterfeits sound almost the same as the original item. For instance, the Chinese-made Rodex is the pirated counterpart of a Rolex watch.
You’ll hear on the news that a fashion company is suing another fashion enterprise for copying one of its products. Nowadays, companies are creating items that are “inspired” by existing merchandise that sell well. In fact, The Independent reported that the swanky clothing company All Saints is suing River Island for IP theft. According to a reports, the business in question mimicked the designs of some of the collection pieces of All Saints.