By Dr. ImanSjahputra, SH. SpN., LL.M.
Developed countries always face the problem of counterfeiting due to their superiority in producing goods. For example, lets take a look at one of the most developed country in the world, United States of America (USA). As a superpower country, USA always prioritizes innovation and creativity in producing their goods. Therefore, it is not surprising that USA’s product always excelled and gained attention from global consumer.
Their masterpieces haveattracted a lot of party from developing country to counterfeit them, as a ‘free-ride’ to save a lot of spending in research and development. As an example, let’s take a glance at Apple, one of USA’s leading technological company in consumer product. Apple made a major breakthrough in global market by introducing Ipod, Iphone, and Ipad. Apple invested a lot of money in developing their products to fit the consumer’s satisfaction and making their lives easier. However, Apple is not alone in this industry. Samsung, as a giant rival for Apple, is always blamed for counterfeiting Apple’s products, which caused a lot of disputes engaged between the two giants. A lot of money has flowed for proving which company has the right to bear the status as the innovator, especially in patent and trademark.
Leading company in technology will always face the possibility of counterfeiting by other party. From all the countries, China has always been placed as the number one counterfeiter. As a newcomer in technology field, China has learnt a lot from various products from USA. They can make a product with similar appearance and feature to USA’s product, of course with lower quality but much cheaper in price. The price surely will contribute much to the aspect of sales and market penetration. For instance, one Chinese-made Ipad-look-alike tablet can cost up to US$300 cheaper than the original Ipad. Of course, 1.3 billion of China’s population will be a proper market for their product. Imagine if at least 2 percent of China’s population uses these products, how much China can save on their foreign exchange, by reducing the importation from other countries.
China’s ‘expertise’ in counterfeiting various technologies surely are shocking, not only in technology, but also in world-class branded goods. China has made its way to world’s “watch-list” in aspect of counterfeiting. If you have an opportunity to visit China, especially Guangdong and Beijing area, you will find several people offering counterfeit product of world-class brands. They will show you an album full of pictures of counterfeit bags such as Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Chanel, etc; and also watches such as Patek Philippe, Rolex, and Omega. If you want to buy the product, just point on the picture and the seller will assist you to a small alley when you can find local houses producing those counterfeit products, and you can bargain with them inside the houses.
However, nowadays, China’s government has put a lot of attention to this problem by making the regulation in Intellectual Property Rights more stringent.
Furthermore, China is never off the watch-list of various world’s intellectual property organization. As a member of World Trade Organization (WTO), China also has to stick to the WTO rule.The world has started to act more strictly than ever to overcome this problem.As a WTO member, a country has to treat other country like their own country, therefore, we can find one of Chinese company, Hisense Group punished to pay a German company due to the use of “Hisense” brand that has been registered in several European Country. China’s willingness to compensate for the infringement shows that regardless how profitable the counterfeiting practice to their foreign exchange, at the end, every country has to obey the intellectual property regulation in global trade. And the regulations will prevail.