KT for Good: Let's continue the fight against fakes


KT for Good: Lets continue the fight against fakes

Buying fakes can have fatal consequences, and yet many people fall for phony products proliferating in the market just to save a few bucks.

by Anjana Sankar

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Published: Sat 29 Jun 2019, 10:27 PM

Counterfeiting is an economic menace to brands. It is an infringement on Intellectual property rights. But it is a bigger threat to the health and safety of people. KT for Good's campaign Fakes Costs More put the spotlight on the human cost that counterfeiting claims and tried to raise awareness among readers on how a few bucks saved could actually cost a lot more in terms of their health and safety.
Through the two-week long campaign that ran from June 15 to June 29, Khaleej Times has covered a gamut of issues around counterfeiting including the proliferation of fakes in the luxury product market, fake medicines and automobile parts and the UAE government's efforts to crackdown on the grey market. 
The campaign that ran on all our social media platforms covering Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and online along with the print story generated considerable public interest with scores writing to us about how they fell victim to fake brands.
The online virility of the campaign clocked a total of 916,726 reaches and over 25,000 engagements.
The online polls  KT conducted over the last two weeks held a mirror to the extent of the problem of counterfeiting with as many as 77 per cent people who participated in the survey saying they have received fake products while shopping online. Of the surveyors, 62 per cent said they had been victims of fake medicines online.
But the good news is 62 per cent of the respondents are optimistic that better awareness will deter consumers from buying counterfeit products. And that is what exactly #FakesCostsMore campaign aimed at: Creating social awareness as media's bigger role and responsibility. 
Experts and government authorities, who were part of the campaign, reiterated the public's role in fighting the fakes. Year-round inspections are breaking the back of the UAE's grey market, but to take on this 300-billion and still growing industry, consumers need to stand tall with law-enforcement authorities. 
"Counterfeiting is a flourishing business and the only way to reduce their proliferation is joint and coordinated action by brands, law enforcement authorities and consumers," said Hatem Abdelghani, partner and director of TLG Intellectual Property, a Dubai-based law firm specialising in intellectual property. He called on the brands to invest more in fighting counterfeits. But the responsibility also lies with authorities who need to tighten regulations and also consumers by not swelling the pockets of counterfeiters. 
In the words of Emirati forensic  expert Khalid Farooq, consumers are "not only harming themselves but others as well". He says it is a social responsibility not to buy counterfeits. 
Counterfeiting is not a victim-less trade. There is a dark underbelly to this lucrative trade as researchers and law enforcement authorities have established an undeniable link between counterfeiting and terrorism. Many reports point out that terrorist attacks are bank-rolled by counterfeit fashion products.
If that fake Louis Vuitton or Prada handbag or Nike shoes that you buy on the streets has blood on it, would you still buy it? Would you intentionally fund a mindless act of terror that will take the lives of innocents?
It is important to remember that when you save a few bucks on counterfeits,  you are inadvertently turning this world into a more dangerous place to live. 
- anjana@khaleejtimes.com

Anjana Sankar

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