THE MAGAZINE

Counterfeiting Exposed: Protecting Your Brand and Customers.

By Tony Vermillion, CPP

Counterfeiting Exposed: Protecting Your Brand and Customers. By David M. Hopkins, Lewis T. Kontnik, and Mark T. Turnage; published by John Wiley & Sons, www.wiley.com (Web); 293 pages; $34.95.

 Imitation is supposed to be the highest form of flattery. Don't believe it for a second, say the authors of Counterfeiting Exposed, especially if you happen to be a for-profit business executive, security manager, law enforcement agent, or consumer. Counterfeiting deprives legitimate businesses of an estimated half billion dollars per year, and the toll is rising.

Targeted to owners of intellectual property, including brands, trademarks, patents, and copyrights, the book explains what they can do to protect themselves from counterfeiters. The advice includes something for just about everyone.

From framing the brand-protection problem to discussing highly affected products, such as pharmaceuticals, the book serves not only to introduce the reader to the dangers of counterfeiting but also to help brand owners think about the "value equation" when devising a brand-protection strategy. It accomplishes the latter by introducing a "Harm Matrix" metrics tool, which explains the aspects of harm, deception, and benefit to and for the various company stakeholders.

The heart of the book pulses in part four, "Protecting Your Brand and Customers." Here the authors outline the critical elements involved in thwarting counterfeiting. They include the use of private investigators and corporate security, legal intervention tactics, anticounterfeiting solutions in the supply and distribution chain, and integrated public and government relations. Despite the costs associated with such a strategy, the return on investment (ROI) outweighs these costs, contend the authors. While they offer some assistance to showing ROI, the authors concede that methods used to measure the impact of anticounterfeiting activities often yield inconclusive results.

Wisely, given counterfeiting's global nature, the authors avoid a North America-centric approach to the issue. They use the U.S. environment as a jumping off point to explore counterfeiting markets such as Thailand, China, Taiwan, and various Central and Eastern European states.

Counterfeiting Exposed is a good one-stop resource for a wide audience. It provides a balanced viewpoint, and it doesn't attempt to sell a service or an agenda. Well-researched and richly footnoted, the book would be a great beginning resource for anyone interested in learning more about the problem.


Reviewer: Tony Vermillion, CPP, is associate director of security for The Procter and Gamble Company in Cincinnati, Ohio. He spent five years for Procter and Gamble in Asia, where he managed brand-protection activities in China. He is a former FBI agent as well as a current member of the Best Practices Council of ASIS International.

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