We lack awareness of the scale of the dangers of this activity. Child exploitation and workers in inhumane conditions are “only” – and yet more than enough – the tip of the iceberg. Unsafe lighters exploding in the hands of users; pesticides causing serious health problems when inhaled; medicines of unreliable origin causing irreversible damage to health or even death; car parts impairing performance and causing accidents; cosmetics that cause skin lesions; food products, including supplements; tobacco; the powerful, profitable and sophisticated activity of counterfeiting knows no boundaries.
The pandemic, combined with technological advances, has boosted online commerce, especially on social media, thus causing the rampant growth of this phenomenon.
The 2022 edition of the Intellectual Property and Youth Scoreboard, released by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), contains a present-day reflection on the behaviour of young people regarding the infringement of industrial property rights, revealing worrying data, among which that in Portugal 34% of young people (within the period covered by this study) intentionally bought counterfeit products.
It is widely known that counterfeiting represents one of the greatest challenges to the world economy, damaging legitimate businesses, tarnishing the reputation of renowned brands, stifling innovation and resulting in job losses. It likewise contributes, through its profits, to sustaining organised crime and funding illicit activities.
In the digital age in which we live, advances in cutting-edge technology related to the development of mechanisms that identify counterfeit products (such as the use of blockchain technology and artificial intelligence) will not be able to completely stop this scourge, but they have and will continue to play a pivotal role in combating it.
Furthermore – and most importantly – the holders of industrial property rights play a decisive role in this fight against counterfeiting, taking the available legal measures to their ultimate consequences.
All this struggle would be inglorious without the tireless work of the competent authorities, in the case of Portugal the ASAE, GNR, PSP and Customs, which protect society from the detrimental effects of counterfeiting. Many thanks to all of them!
This day is also intended to remind us that together we can protect ourselves from the dangers of counterfeiting, which harms everyone, directly or indirectly. We must not allow this crime to become normalised.
Amália Gonçalves, trademark expert J. Pereira da Cruz
Teresa Amorim, coordinator of the anti-counterfeiting department Pereira da Cruz e Associados