Fake products can harm the society by causing job losses, endangering the economy and causing huge economic costs. In response to this challenge, the International Trademark Association (INTA) has partnered with Street Law, Inc. and the Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF) to bring an education course, called the Unreal Campaign, to high school students across the US. Dennemeyer's US Marketing Manager Amber Halteman has joined this campaign as a volunteer in Chicago to raise awareness on the negative consequences of counterfeit products and teach students what counterfeit products are. She will hold a 90-minutes class on December 12, at the Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy.
Counterfeiting money has been around since the first currency, but the counterfeiting of all types of products has nowadays become more prolific. News about counterfeit automobile brakes, drywall and infant formula has splashed across the headlines in the last decade. Young buyers, like high school students, are especially susceptible to counterfeits as they usually don’t have the means to buy the real item. But for many the question remains, what’s the harm?
It turns out counterfeiting has very real and significant impact. Globally, the total economic value of counterfeit and pirated goods is estimated at $650 billion annually1. This likely underestimates the value due to difficulties in estimation and the continued steep increase in volume of counterfeit goods.
The economic impact is expected to rise to $960 billion in 20151. This sum is larger than the GDP of 178 of the world's countries2. More statistics on counterfeits and their negative consequences are found in the Infographic attached.
But how do we stop this phenomenon? One part of the answer is increased brand and trademark enforcement through Customs and other agencies. Another solution is reducing the demand of counterfeit goods by educating the buyers. One novel approach is to educate the next generation of consumers, 15-18-year-olds, who just started on their buyer journey.
In this regard, the International Trademark Association (INTA) has put together a lesson plan, taught by volunteers, which takes place in a 90-minutes class. Students learn about trademarks and the issue of counterfeit consumer products through discussions and a mock Blue Ribbon Commission for public policy. The goal is to teach them about counterfeits and engage them to think about the impact of fakes on them, their families, and their community.
- Frontier Economics, Estimating the Global Economic and Social Impacts of Counterfeiting and Piracy, February 2011.
- The World Factbook, 2012. Central Intelligence Agency, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook.