Guenuine - counterfeit
Counterfeiting began quite early on in the history of humanity. Home-made and occasional, cheap and of poor quality, these were originally the principal traits of counterfeiting, known as “the first generation.” At the time it took place in small, hidden workshops and was the result of isolated activities.
Today it is a real economic scourge whose ideas have evolved with those of society. The counterfeit business has dematerialized with the arrival of the virtual world created by the Internet.
Thus, industry in general and the watch industry in particular are confronted by what is known as the institution of a “second generation” counterfeiting industry, far less identifiable by the end consumer and the distribution networks, because they are confronted by false goods that are almost perfect (they buy a copied product, thinking that they are buying a genuine article).
Moreover, this counterfeiting, which is now using noble materials including gold for its jewellery and watches, is sold within an environment that imitates perfectly the one traditionally associated with the actual brand. In other words, although only copied, the customer can, in good faith, be fooled into buying this product in the specialist shops at almost the same price as the original products.
Counterfeiting is now a real international economic cancer (representing 4 to 7% of world commerce) affecting products in many different sectors and at quite varied prices. In fact, it concerns the whole of the industrial sector, regardless of the nature of the product (pharmaceutical, automotive, textile products, the luxury sector…) and whatever the financial value of the latter (this goes from the lower level product to the very elaborate and both are presented as authentic products).
It is therefore fundamentally prejudicial for:
the country first of all, because it establishes a real hidden economy
then companies, because their creative efforts and brand image are seriously impaired
the consumers, finally, who are victims of trickery when they think they are buying an original product
The legal rules that apply to commercial relations in the real world and guarantee all the economic players a certain degree of security and fairness must also find a way of being applied in the virtual world of the Internet. Unfortunately, electronic commerce is an imperfectly regulated market, in which counterfeiters have cleverly insinuated themselves and are prospering in their illegal activities to the detriment of all concerned: consumers and manufacturers alike.
We are seeing a transformation even in counterfeiting, accompanied by a significant geographical expansion. Its effects have spread worldwide and turned into a veritable phenomenon that is currently experiencing a boom facilitated by the available means of communication.
Certain Asian countries such as Thailand and South Korea are undeniably involved, but China has become the world’s premier country producing and exporting counterfeit goods. In parallel, Europe is still an active centre, where production networks are developing on an increasingly well-organised basis, such as in Germany, Italy and Spain.
As a result, counterfeiting is the cause of a very serious state of insecurity for all the economic actors concerned. It is nothing other than theft: the theft of hard-earned know-how and of creativity resulting from significant investment and of the brand image built up over time.