Counterfeiting: Britain rises in fakers league: Leading sportswear makers join the companies that are losing millions to the rip-off merchants - Business - News - The Independent

Counterfeiting: Britain rises in fakers league: Leading sportswear makers join the companies that are losing millions to the rip-off merchants

AS THE Ireland fans cheered their heroes through the World Cup, many of those sporting the distinctive green and white strip were probably unaware that they were wearing counterfeits.

Mike Roylance, trademark protection manager for Adidas, which produces the official Ireland football strip, said: 'It is a huge problem. We have seen a lot of fake shirts in Ireland, although most of it is produced in the UK.'

Adidas estimates that it loses pounds 4m to pounds 5m a year to counterfeiting. Around 95 per cent of it is clothing, in particular football strips. And the problem is getting worse.

Anthea Wordsall of the Anti-Counterfeiting Group says the problem has worsened in the last 18 months. The group claims, as a conservative estimate, that as a direct result, legitimate businesses lose pounds 200m annually and 100,000 jobs a year are lost in the EU.

While counterfeit goods used to be associated with sweat-shops in the Far East churning out poor-quality fake Rolex watches, the situation has changed. Many of the fake goods on sale at street markets, car boot sales or through fly- pitching on the high street are produced in the UK.

Paul Carratu, managing director of Carratu International, which investigates fakes on behalf of clients, said: 'The UK has the dubious honour of producing some of the best counterfeit goods available.'

The range of counterfeit goods on sale has also grown. It is no longer purely the preserve of premium brands such as Cartier watches, Chanel perfumes and Louis Vuitton bags. The counterfeiting gangs can, and do, copy almost anything, including clothing, motor parts and, perhaps most worrying, pharmaceuticals. The Anti-Counterfeiting Group reports that many potentially lethal fake drugs, including treatment for ulcers, eye-drops and antibiotics, have been found around the world.

In an attempt to protect their brands, some companies are joining with their rivals to stamp out the fakes. In the fiercely competitive sportswear market, leading manufacturers are sharing knowledge and resources. 'All the major sports brands are acting together to pool our resources and share information on who is producing these fakes,' said Mr Roylance of Adidas.

Companies which do not have their own internal security departments are increasingly turning to outside experts such as Carratu International. The firm, which recruits its staff from the police force and intelligence community, attempts to identify the source of fake goods. 'Once we have identified it, we then stop that source with assistance from Trading Standards officers and the police, but it is a very long, slow process,' Mr Carratu said.

Mintel, best known for its market research operation, has also recently launched a counterfeit intelligence division called Counterguard. It is reluctant to name its clients, but says that it has 450 field researchers in 130 countries. The operations manager, Eric Biggs, said: 'Our field researchers act as the ears, arms and legs for our clients. They can check out products on sale in any type of outlet from hypermarkets to car boot sales. Suspect products are purchased discreetly, packed and sent back to the client for analysis.'

But even if the source of fake goods is discovered and prosecuted, the problem continues. 'The sentences handed out are just not deterrents,' Mr Carratu said. 'Some of them get off with a small fine and laugh all the way out of court.'

Fines pose little problem to many counterfeiters, as Glyn Roberts, security manager for the sportswear firm Umbro, pointed out: 'We are currently in the middle of an inquiry about T-shirts which were imported from Turkey and then printed in the UK. My estimate is that that one operation netted pounds 40,000 clear profit on one T-shirt design alone.'

Companies are now pinning their hopes on the trademark legislation expected to become law later this year. Mr Wordsall said: 'We hope that the Trademark Bill will go some way to improving the situation.'

(Photograph omitted)

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum
theatre

Returning to the stage after 20 years makes actress feel 'nauseous'

News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Student
The Guildhall School of Music and Drama is to offer a BA degree in Performance and Creative Enterprise
student

Top conservatoire offers ‘groundbreaking’ arts degree

Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Consultant - Soho - IT, Pharma, Public Sector

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35,000 first year: SThree: The SThree group i...

Sales Executive

£20 - 24k (Uncapped Commission - £35k Year 1 OTE): Guru Careers: We are seekin...

Payroll & Accounts Assistant

£20 - 24k + Benefits: Guru Careers: This is a great opportunity for an enthusi...

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £280 - £320 p/d - 6 months

£280 - £320 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week