Researching & Disrupting Counterfeiting
Counterfeiting is a growing and increasingly dangerous phenomenon. The statistics of seizures for 2007 confirm an existing trend. In 2007, EU Customs seized more than 79 million counterfeit and pirated goods and handled more anti-counterfeiting cases than ever before. A total of more than 43 000 cases were dealt with in 2007, up nearly 17% from 2006. These figures reflect the fact that seizures involving smaller quantities of counterfeit and pirated goods have increased.
Comparing to 2006 we see an increase in almost all product sectors. Besides medicines, which have gone up by 51% compared to 2006, the 264% increase of intercepted articles for personal care is also a very worrying factor considering that creams, toothpaste and razor blades are amongst them. Another worrying sector is the one of electrical equipment in which we find fuse boxes, switches and other safety equipment under the seized goods.
The increasing use of the internet to sell fakes (mainly medicines) and the fact that the high quality of fakes often makes identification impossible without technical expertise increases the challenge.
One of the reasons for this explosion in trade in fakes is that criminals can now produce them on an industrial scale. This provides increased profits and a lot of international criminal organizations are now involved in counterfeiting. It is also believed that terrorist groups are involved in counterfeit and piracy as a means of financing their activities.
Counterfeiting and the role played by OSCN
The large amounts of money invested by criminal organizations in industrial logistics (in order to increase both the quality and the quantity of production) today enables them to produce counterfeit or pirated products that are increasingly difficult to detect. In some countries, factories built specifically to make or process counterfeit goods are an increasingly common sight, as are open air markets in which virtually the only goods sold are fakes. In addition, a counterfeit's price can be fixed higher than the original's price, so that an abnormally low price does not draw the attention of the authorities or the right holders. There are now few doubts regarding the implication of international criminal organizations in the worldwide trafficking of counterfeit and pirate goods. International traffickers often make use of free zones to transship goods, and these free zones are fertile ground for importing and exporting counterfeit and pirated items. These activities have become a source of income in exactly the same way as narcotics, theft and arms dealing.
These organizations are now better structured and more professional, and use the same techniques to move goods infringing intellectual property rights across borders as they do for narcotics. Therefore, they must secure a route through which all types of traffic will pass.
The routing of bulky consignments containing commercial counterfeit or pirated articles throughout the world requires particular care on the part of these organizations, to prevent their seizure. They must try to thwart customs vigilance by "breaking" their way through from the area of production to the area of supply, avoiding direct paths that are well known to the services specialized in this type of fraud. This technique is called "breaking bulk", and consists of concealing the product's origin by passing it through several other territories, thereby focusing the attention of the customs administrations on the immediate source rather than the actual origins of the product.
Through this method, fraudulent goods produced in Asia are transported by boat towards a country known for not making any counterfeits, from where they will set out again by plane towards their final destination. They are thus able to escape the principal control criterion - what could be termed the 'geopolitics' of fraud.
As the new techniques and stringency employed in customs control develop, so do those techniques used by defrauders. Many cases of using 'hidden' methods have been discovered, such as the discovery of double bases in containers or in bags to conceal counterfeit or pirated products. Other frequently employed techniques include mixing authentic products and fakes in the same consignment.
Causing High Losses
According to a report by the OECD:
Ultrascan Anti-Counterfeit Services
Ultrascan Anti-Counterfeiting Services can support organizations in researching and frustrating the role of OSCN in counterfeiting.
Researching & Frustrating
Ultrascan associates can track counterfeit products all over the world and trace their origin.
In co-operation with our customer we introduce evidence with Law Enforcement (LE) intelligence departments in the countries involved and expect them to work the case further successfully.
To secure good working conditions, Ultrascan will never testify or claim to have received or
given information from or to any particular officer or LE department. We may use
information for future analysis but that will never be presented as (partly) coming from a
specific LE department.