Amazon releases brand protection report

In 2020, Amazon seized and destroyed more than two million counterfeit items sold through the platform. The Group blocked another ten billion suspected counterfeits before they could even be published. This is reflected in Amazon’s brand protection report, which the company recently released.

According to its own information, the e-commerce giant invested more than 700 million U.S. dollars in the protection against fraud and counterfeiting last year. The report provides a comprehensive overview of the measures taken.

Manufacturers can prevent counterfeit products – from cosmetics and toys to textiles and luxury goods – from entering the market in the first place by using reliable, high-quality brand protection.


First proceedings initiated vaccination passport counterfeiters

Vaccines are still scarce, and many people are still waiting for their vaccination date. Against the backdrop of the upcoming holiday season and the easing of restrictions for fully vaccinated individuals, it is not surprising that counterfeit vaccination passports are increasingly appearing on the internet. The authorities are now taking action against counterfeiters. The Cologne detective force has formed the ‘Stamp’ investigation group for this purpose – and proceedings in the double-digit range have already been initiated at the State Office of Criminal Investigations (LKA) in Munich. However, the German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) expects a significantly higher number of unreported cases in counterfeiting attempts, and an increasing trend.

Not only providers but also buyers of falsified documents are facing severe penalties, including imprisonment in some cases. However, businesses and institutions can protect consumers at an early stage by implementing reliable anti-counterfeiting measures against the falsification of physical and digital documents.


The European Football Championship is a real windfall for counterfeiters

Your favorite player’s jersey, caps in the colors of your own country, or a scarf with your club’s logo: Any soccer fan worth their salt will be keen to show off their allegiance. Merchandise items are in greater demand than ever before, especially during major sporting events such as the European Championship that just ended. A welcome occasion for counterfeiters, who rake in big bucks with their counterfeit products – very much to the detriment of manufacturers of licensed products, who not only have to accept severe income losses, but also damage to their credibility among customers.

A recent report released by the Cologne customs authorities highlights the dimensions of product piracy surrounding major sporting events. Over the past few weeks, officials at Cologne/Bonn Airport have been able to seize a total of 11,222 Nike-branded counterfeit jerseys and jersey sets, with an estimated original value of almost €900,000.

In order to support manufacturers in their fight against such counterfeit products and to prevent cheap copies of merchandise items from entering the market, LEONHARD KURZ has developed the proven TRUSTSEAL® Protect concept. Please don’t hesitate to contact us!


German customs reports record figures

The value of seized counterfeit products is higher than ever. In 2020, German customs recorded a new record in the confiscation of counterfeits: Goods discovered had a total value of €238.87 million. For comparison, in 2019 that figure was €224.45 million. There was a sharp increase to €2.06 million in the pharmaceutical goods category, in particular  (in 2019: €512,495). Customs was also able to seize significantly higher values than in the previous year in the food and beverage, electric/electronic equipment, personal care products, and the shoes, clothing, accessories segments.

But this is probably only the tip of the iceberg! In many cases, counterfeiters still manage to work undetected. Effective counterfeit protection for products and brands is therefore becoming more important than ever. 

The total annual statistics for 2020 can be found at the German Customs Website.


COVID-19: Number of counterfeit vaccine brands and fake vaccination certificates on the increase

While the vaccination campaign in Germany has picked up speed in the second quarter of 2021, reports of counterfeit vaccines, vaccination certificates, and COVID-19 test results have also increased recently. In April, dozens of doses of allegedly the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine were confiscated in Poland and Mexico and subsequently proved to be merely a cosmetic substance. According to IAVCworld, the market for counterfeit vaccination certificates is also growing on the darknet. Recently, security experts discovered more than 1,200 pages of dubious offers. This is also problematic in view of the planned introduction of a digital COVID-19 vaccination certificate, as the data on vaccinations that have already taken place should be transferrable from the paper version.

Advanced safety labeling for drugs, as well as digital and physical documents and products, can be used to minimize the health risks posed by counterfeit vaccines and increase confidence in the vaccination campaign.

(Photo from Nataliya Vaitkevich from Pexels)


Infamous prize for brazen counterfeiters

If you want to spot differences between counterfeited and original products here, you’ll need to look very closely. Since 1977, the Plagiarius Association has been awarding its infamous ’Plagiarius’ prize – a black dwarf with a golden nose – to the most brazen counterfeiters. The aim of the initiative is to pillory intellectual property thieves for their crimes, thereby raising awareness among politicians and industry, but above all among consumers, of the problem of brand and product piracy.

After all, counterfeit products do not just cause enormous economic damage to the manufacturers of the original products, but consumers will typically not be able to enjoy their purchase for very long either! Upon closer inspection, major quality differences in terms of material, workmanship, and functionality quickly become apparent.

If you want to give consumers the certainty that they are purchasing a high-quality original, you should focus on sustainable product protection. Feel free to contact us for an early look at our flexible security solutions against counterfeitproducts.


Taking action against brand and product pirates

Counterfeited products cause damage worth tens of billions worldwide every year! In the fight against product and brand piracy, the European Observatory on Intellectual Property Violations is once again drawing attention to the importance of available technologies with the new ‘Anti-Counterfeiting Technology Guide.’ The guide is aimed at retailers and manufacturers, including small and medium-sized enterprises, who want to implement counterfeit protection solutions and develop an effective security strategy. Measures from all basic areas are presented in detail: Electronic technologies (such as RFID or NFC labels); visual security elements (such as holograms, watermarks, or microtexts); chemical, physical, and mechanical possibilities (such as security labels); and technologies for digital products.

KURZ has over 40 years of experience in the field of security solutions and offers modular concepts for maximum protection against product and brand piracy.


Flood of fakes: Counterfeit smartphones and accessories on social networks

Smartphones of the latest generation are desirable, but they are too expensive for many consumers, especially for Apple products and the like. Not surprisingly, the business with fake appliances and accessories has been booming for years. What’s more, Facebook and Instagram have introduced their own marketplaces for their users. As a result, the sale of counterfeit products is increasingly shifting to social networks. In 2020 alone, Apple discovered around one million posts featuring counterfeited products and had them removed.

For manufacturers, counterfeit consumer electronics and accessories mean enormous economic and image damage. And, in the worst case, they are hazardous to the health of the consumer: There have already been reports of exploding batteries or chargers. This makes it all the more important for manufacturers to ensure reliable product protection and security solutions against brand piracy, for example by using KURZ security labels. Both our RFID and NFC labels provide proof of authenticity and are tamper evident.


Damage to the economy and a risk to health

Louisville, USA, February 2021: Customs and Border Protection seized a shipment of 1,570 counterfeit luxury goods featuring labels by brands such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Mickey Mouse. The estimated total price of the corresponding genuine goods would be over $821,000! Customs authorities repeatedly report such alarming figures of confiscated counterfeits. Officials also regularly catch out brand and product pirates in Germany; a recent discovery by the Wetzlar Customs Office is alarming evidence that counterfeit products not only cause enormous economic damage but, in the worst case, also pose a risk to health: Two consignments with a total of 140,000 FFP2 masks and medical face masks were seized. Customs officials’ doubts about the proper labelling and conformity with the certificates presented, and thus ultimately the safety of the goods, were quickly confirmed. The FFP2 masks have been classified as a ‘dangerous product’ due to their too high permeability!