Global Intellectual Property Center

Dangerous Fakes

Once viewed by many as a problem limited to purveyors of high-end luxury goods, today counterfeiting has become a multi-billion dollar criminal activity that affects almost every American industry.

While criminals see the production and sale of counterfeit goods as a lucrative, low-risk business model, this illicit activity not only harms U.S. businesses but also puts American consumers at front line of severe risk, especially during the holiday shopping season.

On Cyber Monday 2015, consumer spending topped $3 billion in online sales, setting a new record for single-day online sales. Although in-store sales continue to lead online holiday shopping, the 2015 figure marks a 16% increase over Cyber Monday 2014 and shows the growth of online shopping continues to rise.

Unfortunately, illicit websites offering counterfeit goods identical to the genuine products are also growing exponentially, duping holiday shoppers into buying shoddy and sometimes downright dangerous products.

Facts:

  • World-wide cross border trade in physical counterfeits alone costs the global economy $250 billion a year.
  • 96% of all online pharmacies are operating illegally, many out of compliance with international IP laws that protect the public health and safety.
  • In the United States, the domestic value of counterfeit pharmaceutical seizures in FY 2011 rose by more than $11 million, an increase of almost 200%.
  • Counterfeits also have the potential to put our military at risk and jeopardize our national security missions, according to two recent reports by the Department of Commerce and the Government Accountability Office.

Can you spot a fake? Here’s what consumers in Times Square told us:

These Dangerous Fakes will shock you:

Do you know how many online pharmacies are legitimate and law-abiding?

Dangerous Fakes you can’t run from:

Would you be able to tell the difference between real and fake?

Additional Resources: