The International Trademark Association, a group of major fashion and consumer product brands, launched an anticounterfeiting campaign to raise awareness among teens about the detrimental effects that counterfeits have on the global economy and on brand owners, as well as the potential dangers to consumers’ health.
WWD reported that the INTA’s new campaign, dubbed “Unreal,” emphasizes how social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, could be used to reach a target audience of 14- to 18-year-olds.
Because counterfeit items are readily available in many parts of the country, it is not surprising that teenagers buy them without realizing the economic and social consequences of their purchases. It is doubtful that a teenage girl has child labor or trademark infringement on her mind when she rummages through the fake Fendi wallets on Canal street in Manhattan or illegally downloads a song on the Internet.
“These are folks that are obviously the next generation of purchasers,” said INTA President Gregg Marazzo of Estee Lauder. “Even now they have significant purchasing power.” The goal of INTA’s Unreal campaign is to educate teens about the low quality and unreliability of counterfeits while also emphasizing the harmful social effects, including child labor, organized crime, and negative health impacts.
Alan Drewsen, executive director of INTA, said, “It is our hope that this information will influence their decision the next time they are approached by a site or vendor selling counterfeit goods.”
Last week, an artistic throwdown occurred between Marc Jacobs and graffiti artist Kidult. Marc Jacobs’ Soho boutique was marked with the word “ART” in hot pink graffiti by Kidult, and a photo of his work was later tweeted by the graffiti artist himself. The designer company later announced on Twitter that they are selling hot pink “Art by Art Jacobs” T-shirts, retailing at $689. Signed by the artist, $680.
What was Kidult’s response? The artist retweeted from @lexisnotdead: “SHAME on you, YOU COPY @therealkidult to make money with it, capitalist thieve [sic] RT @MarcJacobsIntl.”
It seems like Marc Jacobs was taking the phrase, “what’s mine is yours,” literally when Kidult created his work of art on the fashion label’s storefront. At first glance, it seems to be just a joke on Marc Jacobs’ part, but the T-shirts are actually in stock and are really being sold for that price. Who is the rightful owner of “ART”? Could this count as copyright infringement? This one seems like a no brainer.
French graffiti artist Kidult vandalized Marc Jacob’s posh Soho New York store last week by spray painting the word “ART” on the establishment’s brick wall while the fashion elite were attending the annual Met Costume Gala uptown. Jacobs’ quick-thinking publicity team tweeted a picture of the graffiti with the caption “Art by Art Jacobs,” which Jacobs has subsequently appropriated from Kidult by screen printing onto a pink t-shirt, offered for sale only at the Soho location at a steep price of $689.
On April 11, 2012, the Department of Commerce released a report that focused on the broad range of industries that benefit from IP, both directly and indirectly. According to Law of Fashion, ‘the report will be used as a tool to help press for intellectual protections in trade negotiations and provide supporting data for the administration’s new International Trade Enforcement Agency, which could bring cases against countries where counterfeiting and digital piracy is rampant.” IP is a key component in our economic growth. It comes as no surprise that IP-intensive industries support the jobs of approximately 40 million workers because the impact of copyright, trademark, and patent protection is inevitably enormous. The Obama Administration’s focus on promoting innovation can trigger a successful, competitive, international market, and by enforcing and protecting IP rights, these IP related industries can continue to support these jobs and contribute to about $5 trillion to U.S. domestic product. The report summary stated, “Without this framework, the creators of intellectual property would tend to lose the economic fruits of their own work, thereby undermining the incentives to undertake the investments necessary to develop the IP in the first place.” Within our Case Clothesed blog, we have seen countless numbers of lawsuits in the fashion industry where creators of IP fight to protect their work so that others cannot benefit off a work that isn’t theirs.
The report identified some of the most IP-intensive industries that use copyright, trademark, and patent protections the most extensively. Electronic shopping & mail-order houses, footwear manufacturing, and clothing stores were among the top trademark-intensive industries with top 100 global brands in 2011. It is clear that the fashion industry thrives off of innovation and incentives to invent and create. While the fashion world is only a mere portion of the IP market, this report puts into perspective just how much IP protection affects commerce throughout the economy.
The full report can be found here.
It goes without saying that the perfect pair of jeans is worth more than the price tag. Finding that pair that fits great, is the perfect color, and is good quality is a combination that one might actually say is priceless. True Religion has gone to great lengths to protect what it deems is the perfect combination and recently won an $863.9 million cybersquatting suit.
According to WWD, François-Henri Pinault shot back today against accusations that his luxury group supports plagiarism at a press conference following the publication of PPR’s 2011 results. Pinault was addressing the accusations Louboutin made to French daily Libération, where Louboutin compared PPR to counterfeiters and claimed the group was trying to destroy his independent label. Pinault responded to the accusations by indicating his confidence that Yves Saint Laurent would win the right to continue selling shoes with red soles in the ongoing case against Christian Louboutin. According to the PPR chairman and chief executive officer, “We won the first proceedings in quite precise, clear terms and I am therefore very confident with regard to this case, even if I regret it, because these are two great houses and I think we have better things to do than to fight in court over a question of color.”
Jewelry designer Fred’s newest campaign featuring super model Kate Moss’s jewelry line, are accused of copying luxury jewelry designer David Yurman’s Spring 2011 campaign. David Yurman, one of Moss’ former clients and rival to Fred, told Page Six, “That the Fred campaign is embarrassingly similar to the one David Yurman ran a year ago. When you are a leader in your category, you get used to people copying you. We are confident consumers know the difference.”
WWD reports that the National Hockey League’s licensing efforts have been literally paying off: merchandise sales enjoyed a 15% climb last season and a 15% increase this year.
The NHL’s VP of consumer products licensing, James Haskins, attributes the growth to the influx of marquee players, higher television ratings, but also consumers who “want more out of what they are purchasing.”
How much do you think a knock-off luxury product really costs? Would you even think about the economic and social costs that counterfeit merchandise is directly responsible for? While some would think that purchasing counterfeits would be a bargain, it is important for the public (and companies themselves) to be aware of the extreme losses that industries face world-wide due to counterfeits.
According to the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition Inc. (IACC), a non-profit organization located in Washington, D.C. organized to combat product counterfeiting and piracy, their statistics show the huge economic impact of counterfeiting in our society.