Falsified medication clearly poses a threat to your health and there have been increasingly frequent international alerts concerning falsified cosmetics. Compared to these, the counterfeiting of many other products seems harmless. Reality though is very different.
Products that do not comply to any known norms, that are made using prohibited or toxic ingredients… The most inoffensive product, when counterfeited, can become a real danger for the consumer and the user.
This risk is that much higher in that counterfeiters do their utmost, helped by new technologies, to ensure that the falsified product visually resembles the original as much as possible.
- Car parts:
The market for false car parts has exploded across the globe, weighing in at over 8 billion euros per year. Brake pads for example, were found made of compressed grass, which burst into fire when overheated.
- Toys for children:
Over 400 toys containing products that can induce cancer or cause sterility were seized in December 2014 in England. Furthermore, counterfeit toys often do not respect inflammability norms; some have burned in just a few seconds.
- Technology and electrical products:
Telephone chargers and electronic games are the most dangerous counterfeit products. Often made in China, they are regularly responsible for fires and electrocutions, according to Electrical Safety First, half of domestic fires in England are caused by counterfeit electric systems.
The National Union of Consumers estimates that in England, 1 out of every 5 bottles of wine sold in neighborhood stores is counterfeit. The bottles often contain antifreeze or methanol, ingredients known to impair vision, cause blindness, and even worse.
This short list is anything but exhaustive. Counterfeiting now affects a large range of products and e-commerce has spread these “fakes” to a global level, leading to the loss of revenue for companies and incurring risks to consumer health. Battling counterfeiting is a necessity and must become our priority.
For more information, go to the Institut national de la propriété industrielle (INPI) website.