Guide to Managing Counterfeiting and Piracy Risks in the COVID-19 Era

While you may have been aware of supply chain vulnerabilities before the crisis, the massive disruptions that have come with the pandemic have magnified those vulnerabilities. It is imperative that business leaders are educated on steps that can be taken to protect their businesses. This guide is your essential resource for combatting counterfeiting and piracy risks in the COVID-19 era.

Counterfeit and pirated products are being produced and consumed in virtually all economies of the world, and there has been an alarming expansion on the general economic and social damage incurred as a result. Few sectors can claim to be spared from the counterfeiting phenomenon. Trade in fake goods, which infringe on trademarks and copyrights, harms companies and governments alike.

While counterfeiting and piracy levels are difficult to determine with precision, vulnerability to counterfeiting and piracy is a major threat to all businesses—especially to those who may not be aware of the tools, resources and best practices that can be used to combat illicit trade risks.

Selling, supplying or buying counterfeit or pirated goods can damage your business’ reputation and put your customers at risk. If combined with other illicit trade practices, such as tax avoidance, counterfeiting can have a direct impact on opportunities to collect national revenue and secure better public services.

While you may have been aware of supply chain vulnerabilities before the crisis, the massive disruptions that have come with the pandemic have magnified those vulnerabilities. Now more than ever, it is imperative that business leaders are educated on steps that can be taken to protect their businesses. This guide is your essential resource for combatting counterfeiting and piracy risks in the COVID-19 era.

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In the context of COVID-19, brand intelligence platform, Red Points, recorded that the number of counterfeit detections increased 38% between March and April 2020 across apparel, toys, home goods, accessories and sporting goods. In particular, the sale of counterfeit healthcare and sanitary products; personal protective equipment; and pharmaceutical products have increased manifold since the outbreak of the crisis.

Between 3-10 March 2020, Operation PANGEA XIII, a joint operation by police, customs and regulatory authorities from 90 countries, confiscated over 34,000 counterfeit surgical masks, “corona spray”, “coronavirus packages” or “coronavirus medicine.” Compared to the 2018 operation, an increase of 18% was reported in antiviral medication seizures, including a 100% increase in seizures of counterfeit chloroquine—an antimalarial medication which was, at one point, hypothesized to reduce the harmful health effects of COVID-19.

These numbers are striking, but they are not insurmountable. Using anti-counterfeiting best practices, including developing clear due diligence procedures are the best way to guard your business against imitators.

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