24 July 2007 | Helen Gilbert
More political support is needed to stop the rise in fake goods entering the UK, according to a law firm.
The call comes after a survey by Davenport Lyons found the number of counterfeit products arriving from Europe and the Far East had risen since last year. It follows similar calls from companies attempting to clamp down on fakes entering their supply chains (News, 15 February).
The report, Counterfeiting Luxury: Exposing the Myths 2007, published yesterday, showed the proportion of people buying fake goods while travelling in Europe had risen by 5 per cent to 45 per cent, while 19 per cent of travellers in the Far East purchased bogus products - an increase of 7 per cent.
Simon Tracey, head of intellectual property and brands at Davenport Lyons, said much more data on who benefits from the proceeds of counterfeit goods "can and must" be brought into the public domain to "drive down demand from, and thus stem the flow of fakes into the UK".
Companies were also warned to distinguish clearly between "factories that make genuine items and those that churn out fakes". More than half of those surveyed said luxury brands lose their exclusivity if fakes are widely available.
A survey of 2,000 people revealed that while the highest percentage of counterfeit products were bought from UK market stalls, there had been a rise in the number of purchases made overseas in the past year. Nearly 80 per cent of respondents said they would be put off buying counterfeit goods if they knew the returns sometimes support criminal activities such as terrorism.
"Consumers need to understand that by buying fakes, they aren't just getting a relative bargain; they are fanning the flames of a much deeper social problem - crime and criminality," Tracey said.