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Counterfeit t-shirts in Turkey
Counterfeit Brazilian real banknotes
To counterfeit means to imitate something. Counterfeit products are fakes or unauthorized replicas of the real product. Counterfeit products are often produced with the intent to take advantage of the superior value of the imitated product. The word counterfeit frequently describes both the forgeries of currency and documents, as well as the imitations of items such as clothing, handbags, shoes, pharmaceuticals, aviation and automobile parts, watches, electronics (both parts and finished products), software, works of art, toys, and movies.
Counterfeit products tend to have fake company logos and brands (resulting in patent or trademark infringement in the case of goods), have a reputation for being lower quality (sometimes not working at all) and may even include toxic elements such as lead. This has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, due to automobile and aviation accidents, poisoning, or ceasing to take essential compounds (e.g., in the case a person takes non-working medicine).
The counterfeiting of money is usually attacked aggressively by governments worldwide. Paper money is the most popular product counterfeited.
Counterfeit money is currency that is produced without the legal sanction of the state or government and in deliberate violation of that country’s laws.
The United States Secret Service, mostly known for its guarding-of-officials task, was initially organized primarily to combat the counterfeiting of American money. Counterfeit government bonds are public debt instruments that are produced without legal sanction, with the intention of “cashing them in” for authentic currency or using them as collateral to secure legitimate loans or lines of credit.
Counterfeiting of documents
Main article: Forgery
Forgery is the process of making or adapting documents with the intention to deceive. It is a form of fraud, and is often a key technique in the execution of identity theft. Uttering and publishing is a term in United States law for the forgery of non-official documents, such as a trucking company’s time and weight logs.
Questioned document examination is a scientific process for investigating many aspects of various documents, and is often used to examine the provenance and verity of a suspected forgery. Security printing is a printing industry specialty, focused on creating legal documents which are difficult to forge.
Counterfeiting of consumer goods
Main article: Counterfeit consumer goods
Bulk bag of counterfeit Viagra
The spread of counterfeit goods (commonly called “knock-offs” or “rip-offs”) has become global in recent years and the range of goods subject to infringement has increased significantly. Apparel and accessories accounted for over 50 percent of the counterfeit goods seized by U.S Customs and Border Control. According to the study of Counterfeiting Intelligence Bureau (CIB) of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), counterfeit goods make up 5 to 7% of World Trade; however, these figures cannot be substantiated due to the secretive nature of the industry.
A report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development indicates that up to US$200 Billion of international trade could have been in counterfeit and illegally copied goods in 2005. In November 2009, the OECD updated these estimates, concluding that the share of counterfeit and illegitimate goods in world trade had increased from 1.85% in 2000 to 1.95% in 2007. That represents an increase to US$250 billion worldwide.
A Sharpie marker, next to a counterfeit “Shoupie” marker
In a detailed breakdown of the counterfeit goods industry, the total loss faced by countries around the world is $600 billion, with the United States facing the most economic impact. When calculating counterfeit products, current estimates place the global losses at $400 billion. On November 29, 2010, the Department of Homeland Security seized and shut down 82 websites as part of a U.S. crackdown of websites that sell counterfeit goods, and was timed to coincide with “Cyber Monday,” the start of the holiday online shopping season.
Counterfeit LG brand and products, such as televisions, monitors, air conditioners, etc.
Some see the rise in counterfeiting of goods as being related to globalisation. As more and more companies, in an effort to increase profits, move manufacturing to the cheaper labour markets of the third world, areas with weaker labour laws or environmental regulations, they give the means of production to foreign workers. These new managers of production have little or no loyalty to the original corporation. They see that profits are being made by the global brand for doing little (other than advertising) and see the possibilities of removing the middle men (i.e. the parent corporation) and marketing directly to the consumer. This can result in counterfeit products being virtually indistinguishable