When a Cardin is not a Cardin

The high prices of many designer products - jeans, ties, dresses, watches - are often enough of a jolt without having to find out that what you bought was not the brand name item after all but a fake. Unfortunately, counterfeiting of well-known brands is a thriving business worldwide - costing manufacturers losses of $100 million or more annually and leaving consumers stuck with often shoddy merchandise. French fashion designer Pierre Cardin, for example, once told of coming across a fake Cardin boutique in the capital of an Asian nation that was stocked with a broad range of copies of his products. Everything about the boutique was fake, even though the items were exact duplicates of Cardin designs and all bore a (fake) trademark.

It is to the credit of the United States, Common Market nations, Canada, and Japan that after years of discussion they have at last reached agreement on a preliminary accord that would bar imports of goods with counterfeit trademarks. The major industrial nations are attempting to place the issue on the agenda of the upcoming ministerial-level trade conference to be held in Geneva in late November. A number of third-world nations (where the fake goods are made) are seeking to thwart any action on such an accord.

A global accord on counterfeit products is long overdue. If the few nations involved in such counterfeiting scuttle efforts to reach agreement on a treaty, then the major industrial nations should go ahead and adopt the treaty on their own and among themselves, as now contemplated.

Recommended: Could you pass a US citizenship test?

The preliminary agreement is reasonable and fair, in that it not only protects trademark firms subject to unscrupulous counterfeiting (such as Levi Strauss, Cartier) but also provides for a review process that would involve both the trademark holder and the importer of goods believed to be fake.

Major trademark holders already license hundreds of firms in third-world nations to manufacture their products. So such an accord should not in any sense be considered discriminatory. It would simply control counterfeiting - which is still a swindle by whomever it is done.

Share this story:

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.