China: The Epicenter of Counterfeits

China is widely known for mass-producing pirated and counterfeit products that flood markets around the world at incredibly low prices compared to genuine products.

The Chinese have coined the humorous expression “We can copy everything except your mother” to show the entrenched culture of counterfeiting.

From fake Rolex watches to copycat Mercedes automobiles, China produces millions of counterfeit goods with some imitations being harmless while others such as fake antibiotics prove to be deadly.

Mercedes G Wagon vs the Counterfeit Chinese version BJ80.png

Mercedes G Wagon vs the Counterfeit Chinese version BJ80

What is counterfeiting

Counterfeiting is a transnational (operating between several nations) crime that is of global concern due to its enormous value and effect on the global economic growth.

It includes digital piracy and cross-border trade, which have annual value estimates of about 1 trillion dollars, thus, making it the most profitable transnational crime.

The illegal trade involves violating intellectual property rights and infringing on trademarks by providing non-deceptive consumers fake product substitutes. It also involves manufacturing fake products that imitate the appearance of genuine products with the aim of deceiving customers.

Reasons for a thriving counterfeit industry in China

Why is counterfeiting so rife in China while the vice is hardly condoned in the Western world? The answer lies in the differing approaches that different nations use to create and enforce laws regarding counterfeiting.

While the United States has firm laws to combat the crime, China has weak legislation and vague descriptions of counterfeiting, therefore, allowing the illegal trade to thrive within its borders, legally.

China considers intellectual property as the original work of the first individual who registers the invention rather than recognizing the inventor.

Additionally, Chinese intellectual property laws are vague due to socialist legalities. Consequently, a foreign inventor would have to travel to China to register the invention to ensure that the laws protect the invention from duplication and counterfeiting.

This requirement demanding an inventor to register intellectual property in China hinders proper enforcement of intellectual property laws in China.

Therefore, the different perception of intellectual property rights and lack of clear laws to prevent counterfeiting, plays a significant role in providing an unregulated environment conducive for counterfeiting.