THE MAGAZINE

Knockoff: The Deadly Trade in Counterfeit Goods

By Terry Cochran, CPP

*****Knockoff: The Deadly Trade in Counterfeit Goods. By Tim Phillips; published by Kogan Page, www.koganpage.com (Web); 288 pages; $29.95.

Lots of people have fake Rolex watches, Coach bags, or movies on DVD. Though some people justify these as “innocent” copies that democratize purchasing power, manufacturers see them as a significant funding source for organized crime, which is destroying the hard work of the world’s watch, designer bag, film, and other industries. But is this trade in counterfeit goods really deadly, as the author of Knockoff claims?

Stated simply, yes. Just think about cars using knockoff parts that are not up to safety standards, airplanes that crash because they were repaired with parts salvaged from another crash, or prescription medicines that don’t treat the ailment they were designed for.

With a pleasing British lilt to his writing, author Tim Phillips enlightens readers with an inside look at worldwide intellectual property (IP) piracy. Security professionals must understand counterfeiting as a global issue, because the world marketplace is so nterconnected, and piracy occurs all over the earth.

Though problems are global, they may need to be addressed differently in different parts of the world. In Italy, some shop owners label counterfeit goods with signs that say “This is fake.” Such a practice might mollify customers, who Phillips says are often indifferent to counterfeiting, but it does little for manufacturers whose products have been duplicated.

From a purely economic perspective, one strategy to thwart counterfeiters involves licensing the asset or IP to third parties. Licensing could conceivably offer owners a much quicker return on investment, as well as a revenue stream at earlier stages of the product/idea development cycle. Licensees would also have incentives to prevent counterfeiting.

There is no single solution to the problem, however. It has to be attacked from multiple angles. Each company has to decide where intervention and anticounterfeiting initiatives are best placed. Owners might target counterfeiters’ marketing and advertising, for instance, or perhaps their logistics networks.

Whether your involvement in security includes investigations or protection of IP, you will find gems of information in this book. As well as being a good read, it is bound to open your eyes to the depth, breadth, and impact of counterfeiting.


Reviewers: Terry Cochran, CPP, is president and CSO of Critical Corporate Services International in Duluth, Georgia. She is a member of the ASIS Information Assets Protection Council. Michael D. Moberly is president of Knowledge Protection Strategies of Memphis, Tennessee. He is also a member of the ASIS council.

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