The team is joined by GuestKats Mirko Brüß, Rosie Burbidge, Nedim Malovic, Frantzeska Papadopolou, Mathilde Pavis, and Eibhlin Vardy
InternKats: Rose Hughes, Ieva Giedrimaite, and Cecilia Sbrolli
SpecialKats: Verónica Rodríguez Arguijo (TechieKat), Hayleigh Bosher (Book Review Editor), and Tian Lu (Asia Correspondent).

Monday, 17 December 2007

It's official: buying fakes can damage your health

The IPKat has been reassured by a warning from the UK Government that Christmas shoppers who buy fake goods on the cheap will end up worse off in the long run and that in some cases they are taking risks with their health. This warning comes via the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) Intellectual Property Crime Report 2007 (available here; press release here), which outlines the impact of criminals and pirates on the UK.

Right: suspects are lined up for a police identity parade, but consumers are unable to identify the real fake Santa

The Kat also learns that the intellectual property crime market in the UK is estimated as worth around £1.3 billion per year. The cost to UK taxpayers of counterfeit cigarettes alone was £2.9 billion in 2006. Closer cooperation between law enforcement agencies and industry groups is however starting to pay off with a rise in the number of successful prosecutions (up to around 1,000 a year now, from 600 in 2004 when the IP Crime Strategy was launched).

Says the IPKat, in a prudent, cautious and responsible world consumers would refrain from buying fakes if they thought they might be dangerous. But Christmas shoppers aren't always rational: it would be a tragedy if these warnings encouraged the shoppers to buy the fakes as presents -- especially for people they're not very fond of -- but kept the genuine goods for themselves.

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