A review conducted by the International Trademark Association (INTA), found that by 2020 the total global value of counterfeit and pirated (including digital piracy) goods could reach US$2.8 trillion. When last measured in 2013, the value of counterfeited goods was US$1.13 trillion.
The study titled The Economic Impacts of Counterfeiting and Piracy, also found that net job losses from illegal counterfeiting activities could hit 5.4 million.
The digital environment has turned counterfeiting in to a global activity, with criminals able to easily set up fake websites and falsely advertise fake products to the global market while remaining anonymous.
“Counterfeiters are becoming so adept at producing and selling counterfeit goods that it is frequently difficult for shoppers to distinguish real versus fake,” Tish Berard, INTA president, said.
The toy industry is very familiar with counterfeit products and copyright infringement – the Toy & Hobby Retailer website features numerous stories on fake products and legal battles surrounding intellectual property.
Businesses should keep a watchful eye on trademarks to ensure knock-offs aren't getting in to the market.
"IP Australia encourages businesses to ensure they monitor use of their trademarks carefully and take advantage of the protection mechanisms available to assist in the effective removal of counterfeit goods from the market," Paula Adamson, General Manager, Trade Marks and Designs Group, IP Australia said.
In Australia, the penalties for infringing on trademarked property are severe - if found guilty, the punishment can include five years in prison and $99,000 worth of fines.