Book Review: Handbook of Research on Counterfeiting and Illicit Trade

Chaudhry's Handbook of Research on Counterfeiting and Illicit Trade is a unique Handbook that provides multiple perspectives on the growth of illicit trade, particularly focusing on counterfeits and internet piracy. This book is kindly reviewed by Dr Karen Walsh who is a Lecturer in Intellectual Property Law (Education and Research) at the University of Exeter. -

Counterfeiting and illicit trade are well-known issues when it comes to the protection of intellectual property rights. However, despite the prolonged prevalence of counterfeit goods and the number of mechanisms that have been introduced to battle this problem, the problem continues to grow and adapt. Peggy E. Chaudhry’s Handbook of Research on Counterfeiting and Illicit Trade provides an extensive examination of this topic. This edited collection discusses the various reasons for and means of counterfeiting and illicit trade and how these issues have been addressed thus far. It also proposes a number of ways to improve the current situation both generally and for specific fields (e.g. pharma, luxury goods, and tobacco). The Handbook offers a vast range of perspectives from academics, policymakers, and industry experts to name a few, as well as perspectives from a number of jurisdictions, including the US, Mexico and China. Broken down into five parts, Chaudhry covers many relevant areas in this debate, ending with stimulating discussions on perceptions of the effectiveness of anti-counterfeiting tactics.

In the first few chapters, a clear picture is drawn of the nature of counterfeiting, its prevalence in the global market, and its impact on various stakeholders such as consumers, industry, government, and national security. The Handbook then goes on to discuss interesting and timely initiatives to stem illicit trade in the US, Mexico and China. Examples from various industries are then examined, including a fascinating chapter on ‘Illicit trade in the tobacco sector’. It is extremely timely to consider this chapter’s discussion on the potential implications of plain packaging legislation on counterfeit goods following the recent decision of the WTO in favour of Australia. An argument is made that plain packaging could be a factor in the increase of illicit trade in tobacco products in Australia. The authors cite a study by KPMG (commissioned by tobacco manufacturers) which suggests that in Australia ‘illicit penetration of cigarettes consumption increased from 11.5 percent in 2012 to 14 percent in 2015’ and while plain packaging is not seen as the sole cause of this increase, it is argued that it could certainly be a factor because it makes counterfeiting easier and cheaper.

Laptop hijacked
Photo: Lisa Omarali
One of the most compelling aspects of this edited collection is Part IV on ‘The Growing Problem on the Internet’. A sore topic for all areas of IP, the main question here is how counterfeit goods can be prevented from spreading given the ease by which counterfeiters have access to global markets via the internet. In this part of the Handbook, the magnitude of piracy on the internet is displayed with gripping statistics, and the influence of social media is analysed. The availability of legitimate streaming services is shown to have had a positive effect on reducing piracy in the music industry. The same could be said for the movie and television industry thanks to the availability of more legitimate streaming services. The final chapter discusses internet crime, computer hijacking, the dark web and the so called ‘crimeware economy’, placing a strong emphasis on educating consumers as to the risks associated with internet use. A reoccurring suggestion throughout these chapters involves tackling the issue from the demand side rather than the supply side by keeping up with technological developments and using them to the rightsholder’s advantage. An effective way of doing so is by providing services to consumers via legal means (such as Spotify, Netflix and Hulu to name a few) that are more convenient than their illegal counterparts.

This edited collection brings together the various aspects of this compelling topic in a well-structured and effective manner providing a valuable contribution to the field. It will be of great interest to many audiences, especially given the various perspectives shared within the text. For those wanting an overview of the current state of counterfeiting and illicit trade, as well as expert analysis and opinion on many aspects of these issues, it will be found in this Handbook.

Extent: 512 pp
Hardback: ISBN: 978 1 78536 644 4; Price: £180.00, Web: £162.00
eBook: eISBN: 978 1 78536 645 1; GooglePlay £36; Ebooks.com: £48
Publication Date: 2017
Book Review: Handbook of Research on Counterfeiting and Illicit Trade Book Review: Handbook of Research on Counterfeiting and Illicit Trade Reviewed by Hayleigh Bosher on Sunday, July 29, 2018 Rating: 5

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