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“Counterfeiting is a serious economic offence causing a huge loss to industry, to the government and also to consumers. But it is still not considered as serious offence” -Naina Lal Kidwai (Ficci president ) . Counterfeit goods cross every imaginable product. The trade in counterfeit goods is booming, and it’s shifting from relatively innocuous items like handbags ,shoes to things like medicine and pesticides that can carry serious health and safety implications. This article is about increasing awareness about Counterfeit products, What is the size of fake products, Why should we avoid fake products, Why should an individual care?  Learn some tips about recognizing the fake products. And about the Indiblogger meet in Jan 2013  in Bangalore where presentation by HP cartridge manager made me aware of it.

Experience  of Counterfeit Products

Mr Sharma showed off his new Apple Iphone 5 which he had bought a week before. He was happily telling every one about his new Apple like I-phone and how he it was a steal at a fraction of cost of the original!

Shravan was gathering compliments for the latest Levi’s jeans. His friends were damn impressed by him wearing latest style. But Shravan was not that comfortable in his jeans , it was itching him which he attributed to the new fabric. One of his friend on close inspection noticed that the stitching was not that even!

Rekha went to college with a new Gucci bag. It was cool, awesome and all her friends ga-gaing over it. She felt to excited to pass off bag from road side as original.

Mrs Vidya got new cartridge for printer, which shopkeeper said was genuine cartridge. With children getting school projects every now, running to the shop for getting printouts was becoming a BIG task and so they had bought a printer.

Vidya’s maid had got new Duve soap for her daughter. It looked same as the Dove soap but was very cheap.

After Some Time

Mr Sharma can make and receive calls but he cannot hear what other person is saying. Phone disconnects the call by itself. He took to the shopkeeper who told him that there is no warranty and no service center. Mr Sharma is planning to buy basic mobile.

Shravan The color has faded, zipper does not work, buttons have come off and even after repeated wash the material itches. He is using to wash his motor-bike.

Rekha : The strap brokes, zip is not closing properly and she thinks it now looks tacky!

Vidya : The printout are not good, some parts are blurred and the ink finished much earlier than the before.

Maid’s daughter had rashes, after showing to doctor came to know that it is due to the soap . She is applying medicine.

Market of Counterfeit Products

The trade in counterfeit goods is booming, and it’s shifting from relatively innocuous items like shoes and handbags to things like medicine and pesticides that can carry serious health and safety implications. You can find fake, counterfeit, knock-off in following categories and more.

  • Designer clothes, watches, and accessories
  • Perfume, cosmetics and bodycare products
  • CDs, DVDs, computer software, games
  • Vehicle and other spare parts
  • Medicines, chemicals and pesticides
  • Power tools and household appliances

When it comes to fake products, the sheer size of the industry is staggering in India as well as the entire world!

The World: In 2008, Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce, in a report, had said the impact of counterfeit products on G20 countries was estimated at $455 billion to $650 billion. This impact is estimated to rise to the tune of $1,220 billion to $1,770 billion by 2015. A report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development put the value of counterfeit goods that crossed international borders at over $250 billion in 2007. That’s far larger than other scourges of the underworld economy, such as weapons smuggling and human trafficking. It even rivals the international trade in illegal drugs. Ref:CNN Money Counterfeit goods becoming more dangerous (Sep 2012)

India: The widespread sale of counterfeit products across various sectors such as electronic items, automotive components, consumer durables, pharma, herbal medicine & cosmetic has become so alarming as to capture a market size of Rs 55,000 crore through illegal channels by 2013, according to estimates made by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM). Ref: Assocham press release – Aug 2012

Effect of Fake Products India

Effect of Fake Products India

(Image Courtsey Mail Online India)

Why Should  You Avoid Fakes

Counterfeiting is not a victim-less crime. The manufacture, distribution and sale of fake goods:

  • Threaten the safety of consumers through products that have not been properly tested;
  • Offer a poor deal to consumers with no warranty or after-sales service
  • Affect the commercial viability of legitimate businesses, whose products are faked
  • Causes job losses,
  • Harm the national economy through tax evasion.
  • Fund other serious organised crime.

How are companies fighting counterfeit products?

Most of the business have separate departments to fight counterfeit products. Security departments of most businesses are working with police and local authorities to try to shut down internet sites and actual shops selling counterfeit products. But they are also investing in technology, packaging.  Different ways through which  companies are fighting fake products  (Ref: vrittivaani’s Fake brands in the race to win the rural markets of India):

Vigilance : Companies like Coca-Cola have set up an elaborate system to curb the menace of duplicate manufacturers, offering incentives to informers. It has 48 consumer response coordinators across the countries who work with their teams and redress consumer complaints directly, including overcharging and spurious bottling. Besides, it has a large network of route salesmen who have a one-to-one relationship with the retailers on their beat and keep their ears to the ground. When they spot suspicious activity, they inform company officials.

Using Technology: Hindustan Lever has initiated special tamper-proof packs for its deodorant spray ‘AXE’, whose nozzle can’t be detached from the body while Procter and Gamble uses special labels for its Vicks Vapo Rub which does not peel off even if soaked overnight in water.

Upgrading : Upgrading the product packaging periodically or launching product variants so that the manufacturers of counterfeits find it difficult to copy their products.

Increasing Awareness : Stopping the counterfeits market is a long process and companies are trying to create awareness among the consumers about the ill effects about such fake products and the hazards they pose.

Case study of HP cartridge group fight against Counterfeit products.

HP cartridge group  is  very serious about counterfeit cartridges, it is taking various steps to fight Counterfeit cartridges

  • Ongoing efforts to reduce the cost of the cartridge. The authentic HP cartridge starts from Rs 490.
  • Can order cartridge using their dial-a-cartridge 1800-425-4999 or online at with free delivery within 6 hours.
  • They have dedicated Anti-Counterfeiting Groups within the organization at global and local leves. Watch the interview(on Youtube) with the heads of the Anti-Counterfeiting Program.
  • They have dedicated webpage Anti Counterfeit Information for information on anti counterfeit.
  • HP places a security seal on the packaging of its cartridges so that it’s easy to distinguish between genuine HP versus fake. All genuine HP print cartridges come packaged in a box bearing the HP name and logo. The packaging should be undamaged and previously unopened.
  • Color Switch Seal : On Turning the HP box from side to side.The colors on the seal change from light to dark.
  • QR code seal : The newest HP security seals have Quick Response(QR)codes. It contains serial numbers to allow quick verification of product authenticity which you can scan with a camera-enabled smartphone to instantly verify authenticity.
  • HP cartridge QR Seal

    HP cartridge QR Seal

  • Steps involved are
    • Download a QR code scanner app to your camera-enabled smartphone.
    • Scan the QR code on the security seal.
    • You’ll receive instant verification from HP.
    • If your phone doesn’t have a camera lens, you can validate HP security seals online by going to and entering the serial number from the seal.
  • The HP Cartridge Authentication feature offered for HP printers helps protect you by checking and verifying the authenticity of each print cartridge installed in your printer.
  • Creating awareness such as tie-up with indiblogger.
  • HP fights counterfeit cartridges

    HP fights counterfeit cartridges

     Why Should I Care?

    If you feel it’s company headaches to stop fake products you are right but partly.It may be hard to get worked up over the economic costs of bootlegged DVD’s or illegally downloaded music or fake Gucci bags . But

    • When the toy you bought for you child that you thought was from Disney contains lead paint, then .. .
    • When the medicine you bought was fake..then!
    • When the food you eat, milk you drink is fake then!
    • When the spare parts in your car are fake then!
    • When the money in your wallet is fake then!

    Awareness is the beginning of change. Say NO to Fake and YES To original for it’s your choice, If you don’t buy, I don’t buy and others also don’t buy then counterfeit products will not be sold!

    IndiBlogger Meet

    I had the opportunity to attend  “an orginial experience” , HP, Harper Collins Indiblogger meet at Fortune park JP celestial Bangalore,  on Sunday 20th Jan 2013. Despite  being a Sunday evening, when 200 indi-bloggers meet under one roof it was fun filled event, different from the other meets(Samsung Tab, Surf Excel) that I have attended. There was music in the air, there was lots and lots of fun with loads of competitions, there was good food, lot of learning (using QR scanner app, eye-opening ) too What more could one ask for.  I met some familar faces (The Fool,Sujata,Pooja Pradeep,Leo, Farida, Nabnita, Raj), missed few(Tina, Sebi,Ruchika) , made friends with new ones(Rachna,Vidya and may others).  I felt so comfortable it was like meeting friends, thanks to Indiblogger Team efforts for creating the informal atmosphere where one can just sit back , relax and as they say in Bangalore “Enjoy Maadi”(Simple Enjoy). It was a pleasant surprise when few Indibloggers felicted the Indiblogger Team for their great work.  Competitions were awesome :

    • Each of us was given a sheet with QR code. We had scan QR code and find the sentence associated with it. The sentence was one-third of the quote. We had to look for people with the missing parts of our code.
    • We were divided into groups of 15 and had to Mime out name of the given picture. Ours was Charlie and Chocolate and people were so busy trying to guess that they missed the wonderful tweets by our official tweeter.
    • Prizes were given away for varied categories youngest blogger(Rachna’s son 10 year old was the winner) ,  blogger with no hair,  the team that performed the worst mimic, for a original pose and for asking/answering random questions such as ‘why this Kolavari di? etc
    • Many USB’s, books were given away and people were still begging for more! (image from Indibloggers facebook page)
    Memories of Indiblogger meet

    Memories of Indiblogger meet

    The presentation by HP cartridges country manager was an eye-opener to me. I had never realized that the problem of counterfeiting is SO serious. Like every Indiblogger meet, I came back from this Indiblogger meet with lots of memories, goodies and yearning for the next one !

    Related Articles:

    Be Aware. Any item being sold at a ridiculously low price (50% or less of usual price) is most likely to be counterfeit.Misspelled labels and poor quality logos are an easily recognizable trait of all kinds of fake goods.If a deal sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.Get value for your hard-earned money. Say NO to Fake and YES To original.


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