While imitation can be the sincerest form of flattery in many circumstances, it becomes a nightmare for many companies. The more popular a brand is, the likelihood it will face counterfeiters at some point. Globally, counterfeiting amounted to $1.2 trillion in 2017. According to the Global Brand Counterfeiting Report, global online counterfeiting created losses of $323 billion in 2017, with luxury brands experiencing $30.3 billion of losses in online sales. As these numbers indicate, counterfeited brands create a huge and expensive problem for the actual brands.
Not only do counterfeited products affect the economy, they may also affect consumer health and safety, especially when it comes to counterfeited drugs. In fact, one million people die annually from fake drugs and consumers spend $200 billion annually on these drugs. Other industries where counterfeiting is a serious threat to health and safety include automotive and aviation industries. Fake car parts cause 1.5 million injuries and 36,000 deaths annually.
One of the most counterfeited luxury brands is Louis Vuitton. As a result, it makes headlines frequently in its quest to assert its rights. The company spends more than $17 million annually to combat counterfeiters. Unfortunately, it is likely the company will always fight counterfeiters as counterfeiters continue to market and make products so closely designed like the original it is hard to distinguish between the real product and the fake product. Further, the Internet makes it easier to hide counterfeited products. In fact, on Instagram Louis Vuitton is one of the top targeted brands at 8.51%. This is only one online avenue. Recently, Louis Vuitton sued hundreds of websites over counterfeiting issues.
As indicated, the time and money Louis Vuitton has to expend in order to combat counterfeiters is tremendous. However, the alternative could prove detrimental. If Louis Vuitton were not pursuing counterfeiters, it would lose significant profits and could taint its reputation as knockoffs typically do not have the same quality. Therefore, the company must continue to assert its rights in order to protect its reputation, its revenue, and its future.