Magazine article USA TODAY

Counterfeiting Costs Companies Billions

Magazine article USA TODAY

Counterfeiting Costs Companies Billions

Article excerpt

Counterfeiting of goods is taking a devastating toll, creating losses in revenue to corporations, taxes by governments, jobs in many industry sectors, and quality integrity in the minds of consumers, warns Robin A. Rolfe, executive director, International Trademark Association (INTA). "If we were to use only one-half of one percent of sales of affected industries as a measuring device for counterfeiting losses, the dollar value would be staggering. The magnitude of that amount, computing the gross sales of Fortune 500 industry sectors, is so awesome as to be unbelievable. [One-half of one percent totals $113,132,600,000.] ... That number is not as unrealistic as it appears. Many companies trying to compute losses modestly suggest one to three percent of gross sales as a starting point. Translate that into job losses, tax revenues lost and other important factors, and you begin to comprehend the enormity of the problem."

A survey among INTA members to identify those countries where counterfeiting and other trademark protection problems exist named Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, Hong Kong, and Brazil, in that order. "But, I don't mean to imply that there are no counterfeiting problems in the U.S. Walk in New York, Washington, D.C., and some other major cities, and you will see counterfeit goods sold openly on the streets. However, there is a vigilant and active law enforcement program in this country, with severe penalties, namely substantial fines and imprisonment. …

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