Fakes 'Becoming More Sophisticated'

Authentic MCM bag (left) and duplicate. Original goods have interior tags with an identification number and rotating ornamental screws. /Courtesy of Korea Customs Service Authentic MCM bag (left) and duplicate. Original goods have interior tags with an identification number and rotating ornamental screws. /Courtesy of Korea Customs Service

Fake goods are becoming so sophisticated that they are almost impossible to distinguish from the original. Korea Customs Service data on violation of intellectual property in April show that trademark violations accounted for 159 out of 188 cases or 84 percent, followed by copyright infringement (17 cases), unauthorized reproduction of computer programs (9 cases), and others (6 cases).

Counterfeit products not only affect famous international brands but are taking a toll on Korean trademarks as well. In China, an estimated 6.5 million cell phones are duplicates of Samsung Electronics products, accounting for 10-12 percent of the market. The pirating of LG products such as TVs and mobile phones is also on the increase.

A KCS official said, "According to the World Customs Organization with 171 member countries, pirate goods accounts for 6 percent of global trading." Based on the data, the loss sustained by Korea is estimated at about W32 trillion (US$1=W1,247) in 2008, he added.

To tackle the increase in imports of pirated products, the KCS is strengthening customs inspection nationwide with an automatic system check to detect fake products.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jun. 11, 2009 12:10 KST