Alan Marks (SVP, Global Communications, eBay Inc.), Frank Abagnale, Valerie Salembier (SVP, Global Communications, eBay Inc.), Susan Engel (Portero CEO), Thomas Onda (Chief Intellectual Property Counsel, Levi Strauss & Co.), Fred Felman (Mark Monitor), Photo credit: Kristen Somody Whalen.
It wasn't SO long ago that buying a designer handbag, apparel, shoes or fragrance required actual, you know, EFFORT. And by that, I'm talking walking yourself into a department store, specialty store or brand boutique to make your long-awaited purchase. But by the 1990s, the birth of ecommerce changed the landscape entirely and purchasing luxury goods – not to mention everything else imaginable in the free world – was just a few keystrokes and an Enter key away. And while that may be convenient for consumers and profitable for retailers, it's also profitable for a less savory element of society...namely counterfeiters and the selling of fakes proliferated online with remarkable speed. In fact, a recent study revealed that 80 percent of all fake goods sold were purchased online.
Yesterday, I had the great pleasure of attending the 7th annual Anticounterfeiting Summit, hosted by Harper’s Bazaar in partnership with eBay and Mark Monitor. This year’s theme, Counterfeiting 2.0: The Internet and it's Role in the Global Counterfeiting Epidemic, focused on the wide range of counterfeit products readily available at consumers’ fingertips, and how brands and consumers can avoid falling prey to the criminals who peddle them.
Experts on hand included Frank W. Abagnale, who delivered the keynote address to an audience of luxury goods executives, government officials and members of the international legal and business communities. Abagnale is one of the world’s most respected authorities on the subjects of counterfeiting, forgery, embezzlement, and document security and has been associated with the FBI for over 35 years but is best known for as the inspiration for the film and Broadway production of Catch Me If You Can.
Following the keynote, Valerie Salembier, SVP/Publisher of Harper’s Bazaar, moderated a thought-provoking panel discussion with Susan Engel, Chief Executive Officer of Portero, Alan Marks, Senior Vice President, Global Communications, eBay Inc. and Thomas M. Onda, Chief Intellectual Property Counsel, Levi Strauss & Co.
The sale of counterfeit goods is a $600 billion a year illegal business affecting key components of the U.S. and global economy. It is responsible for the loss of 750,000 jobs and $250 billion in revenue to companies in the U.S. alone, and can be tied directly to child labor, drug trafficking and terrorism.
So, what can you do to support? Easy. Don't buy counterfeit merchandise - ever! And follow The Harper’s Bazaar Fakes Are Never In Fashion™ campaign online or on Twitter at @NeverFakes for up to minute updates on legislation and more.
What's your take on counterfeit merchandise? Do tell in the comments!