Diane Alter – Fourth Estate Cooperative Reporter
Paris, France (4E) – From Chanel to Louis Vuitton, French luxury brands are fighting back against fake items.
The storied names have launched a campaign in collaboration with a handful of European countries to fight back against the growing flood of counterfeit goods.
Seventy-five French luxury goods makers including Dior, Cartier and Remy Martin have taken on the cause.
Counterfeit seizures doubled in Europe between 2009 and 2010, reaching 103 million items worth €1.1 billion ($1.37 billion). Customs officers are often unable to distinguish the fakes from the real.
The worldwide market for luxury phony good has surged, fueled by Asia where some 85 percent of such articles are produced. The proliferation of online sites that sell bogus goods are also behind the increase in replicas.
A poster campaign in French airports has just been launched in an attempt to deter tourists from buying phonies.
France, home to many of the world’s best known luxury brands, is particularly exposed. Half the 8.9 million counterfeit articles seized in France in 2011 were luxury goods, ranging from clothes to sunglasses to perfumes. Louis Vuitton products were the most copied.
Fake goods cost the French economy 30,000 jobs and €6 billion in lost revenue every year.
France has the strictest anti-counterfeit legislation in the world. Simply possessing a counterfeit good in France has been considered a crime since 1994.