Knock Off No-No’s – Dangers Of Counterfeit Goods
Knock-off products refer to replicas made by manufacturers in order to take advantage of a brand name and rip off the likeness of a popular product. These “knock offs” ride off the creativity of the creator. Not only do they diminish the integrity and originality of the original product but they are also a mockery of the effort, money, creativity and expense that the creator put into that innovation. No longer are these fakes easily identifiable by misspelled logos, broken stitching or rusted hardware – it is now all too easy to be fooled as a consumer as to the authenticity of counterfeit.
The quality of fake products is improving as are the processes which counterfeiters use to get stock to consumer. One popular method is to use paid advertising to appear on consumers’ timelines and feeds – appearing to be a ‘legitimate’ business to consumers, as it is a paid advertisement. However, consumers can be duped by this method thinking that they are purchasing an original brand name for much cheaper from something as unalarming as a Facebook post.
It is also known that these counterfeiters will use third-party platforms such as eBay and other platforms, even though this is forbidden in a platform’s terms and conditions. Counterfeiters use fake names and pictures to distribute replicated products. For the average consumer, it can be very difficult to spot a fake from pictures, especially when these counterfeited goods come with fake authenticity cards and receipts!
Whilst some may not see the harm in purchasing a product that looks the same, but is much cheaper from an unknown manufacturer, they are unaware of how dangerous and damaging it can be to purchase counterfeit goods. The whole jurisprudence of intellectual property law is to protect the intellectual property rights of others, so they are encouraged to innovate through the protection of intellectual property rights.
Not only are products such as clothing and bags being replicated, but also goods like cosmetics. With the booming beauty industry and popular trend of Youtuber’s creating beauty products, it is no surprise that it didn’t take very long at all for manufacturers to start creating and selling counterfeit makeup.
However, this is extremely dangerous as legitimate cosmetics must follow safety and hazard procedures to ensure consumers do not come into harms way, especially using products that go near hazardous places such as your face or eyes. But when you buy counterfeit makeup, though it may look the same on the outside, the manufacturers that you purchased from do not have to follow these same rules and guidelines and you have no idea what the eyeshadow you’re putting on your face has been mixed with, and in what conditions the products have been manufactured.
In January this year, influencer, beauty guru and makeup creator, Jeffree Star tweeted a picture of Walmart’s online store, which appeared to stock Jeffree Star makeup products. Proving even major market chains can be fooled by fake goods, he went on to reveal these products were counterfeit, tweeting “Allowing 3rd party companies to sell counterfeit nasty FAKE makeup on your website is illegal. And also highly dangerous. My legal team has reached out and we want answers. I have bought several fake #jeffreestar products from a few websites and I’m having it tested by a chemist to show you how deadly these products are. Lawsuit coming soon.”
Clearly and understandably, the mogul wasn’t happy with seeing his products being ripped off.
For the sake of the designer, encouraging innovation, and the integrity of the brand, and of course your health and safety, the best option is to put your money towards legitimate brand names and keep away from harmful companies that are “copy cats” and create replicas, riding off the hard work and creativity of others. Although cheaper prices may be tempting, the damage that comes to the brand and society, is not worth it! Not to mention the potential harm that can come from using low quality products.
Take away points
- Knock-off products refer to replicas made by manufacturers in order to take advantage of a brand name or creative innovation and rip-off the likeness of a popular product
- Not only are the fake products improving but also the processes in which counterfeiters use to get stock to consumer
- For the average consumer, it can be very difficult to spot a fake from pictures, especially when these counterfeited goods can come with fake authenticity cards and receipts
- For the sake of the designer, the integrity of the brand, and of course your health and safety, the best option is to put your money towards legitimate brand names and stay away from “copycat” companies that rip off the ideas of others.
Lara Alexandra, Legal Assistant and Trade Mark Administrator
We are a team of trade mark attorney and IP specialists based on Gold Coast and Sydney. If you need any assistance with legal advice for your copyright matters, please contact us on 1300 77 66 14.
Disclaimer. The material in this post represents general information only and should not be taken to be legal advice.