MILAN — A boom in Internet scams is driving sales of counterfeit goods, a report released Wednesday by Indicam showed.
Indicam, a private organization that works with the Italian government to combat counterfeiting, said there was a 1,850 percent surge in the sales of counterfeit goods in 2010 from 1993. At a roundtable discussion here, industry leaders, along with Indicam, urged stricter regulation and laws to combat the sale of fake goods.
“We want to spend our time investing in creativity and not combating fakes,” Murielle Vincenti, a lawyer who spearheads Prada’s intellectual property department, said. Vincenti added that finding those responsible for mimicking the Prada name is a “complex” process as many of these Web sites have several parties involved. “It’s not always easy with the system that exists.”
Indicam said Italy alone generated about 7 billion euros, or $9.5 billion at current exchange, in sales of counterfeit goods in 2010.
Around 60 percent of total Italian counterfeit revenue comes from the production of textiles, leather good and shoes.
Representatives from Nike and Prada showed the crowd scores of Web sites that bear copies of their company logo and name to sell fakes or steal from unsuspecting consumers.
“We need to invest more in intelligence,” said Elena Pigozzi, brand protection manager for Nike Europe. “We need to examine more packages that are sent from these Web sites.”
One way to fight Web production on fakes is to monitor products being sold on the Web and enforce label laws on those products, said Indicam president Carlo Guglielmi. “I don’t see why products sold on the Web shouldn’t be required to be traceable by labels,” Guglielmi said.
Such a feat could prove a challenge, since over the past decade Italian politicians and companies have been engaged in a fight for stricter labeling laws that require specifying where all components of a product are made.
In terms of production of fakes worldwide, more than 50 percent come from Southeast Asia, while 35 percent of production is based in European Mediterranean countries. Ironically, the European Union, which is working hard to combat the counterfeits phenomenon, is the largest consumer, by region, consuming 60 percent of all the world’s fakes. By country, China remains the number-one consumer.
Worldwide, 270,000 jobs have been lost over the past 10 years due to counterfeiting. Some 125,000 of those jobs were EU based, Indicam said.
Starting today, France’s Comité Colbert will introduce an anti-fakes campaign in Italy. The campaign was made possible with the help of luxury labels including Bulgari, Chanel and Lacoste. Already present in France, several signs that bear designs like Chanel T-shirts emblazoned with a cartoonish copy of the Chanel “C” and slogans that read “Don’t buy counterfeit products, it’s against the law,” will be placed in public places like airports.