The Breguet Tradition Fusee Tourbillon.

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I watched a film on global counterfeiting rings and was disgusted. I don’t see any legal or ethical justification for producing knockoffs (design ripoffs using lower quality materials, sold under another name at a competitive price) OR counterfeits (design ripoffs, branded as the original) with the intent to defraud.

One Internet merchant who made a fortune from selling replica watches, blamed companies for marketing and creating the desire for products that some consumers can never hope to buy. He said he’s just giving people what they want.

I don’t agree with counterfeiting on three counts:

  • Intellectual property infringement (copyright/patent/trademark) is a violation of law. Perhaps it may also represent a breach of contract between the product firm & the manufacturer. This steals revenue from the product firms.
  • Consumers are put at risk. Shoddy, cheap, low-quality copies of pharmaceuticals or food items can actually endanger the well-being of consumers. For apparel & textiles, it’s less of an issue–but a fabric should do what it’s supposed to do (i.e. flame-resistant children’s clothes).
  • It defaces a company’s brand image. Once consumers lose faith, it’s over. It’ll take so much marketing to regain their trust.

A $150 replica of a $10,000 Cartier watch won’t be anything like the original. A $10 Walmart digital could tell time more accurately than a faux mechanical. (Don’t get me started on leather, I can recognize that shit from a mile away.)

And what about “grey market” goods? When the real thing–the result of excess inventory or sneaky production runs off-hours–is sold by unauthorized vendors? Is that any better than distributing knockoffs or counterfeits?

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Louis Vuitton FW 2010/2011 – Men’s Accessories.

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