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Product Counterfeiting: Evidence-Based Lessons for the State of Michigan

NCJ Number
Justin A. Heinonen; Jeremy M. Wilson
Date Published
February 2012
16 pages
This paper examines the problem of product counterfeiting, illegal activities linked to the intellectual property rights infringement of material goods.
Product counterfeiting is defined as illegal activities linked to the intellectual property rights infringement of material goods and encompasses goods ranging from designer apparel to pharmaceuticals, food and beverages, electronics, chemical goods, children's toys, weapons, and tobacco products. Examining the problem of product counterfeiting is important because of its negative effects on consumers, industry, and government resources. This paper explores the problem of product counterfeiting in Michigan and discusses the development of a national product-counterfeiting database. Information for the database was obtained from a variety of sources including government agencies, industry organizations, and Web-based meta-searches. The paper also discusses issues relevant to the problem of product counterfeiting: product counterfeiting and terrorism, product counterfeiting and international organized crime, and product counterfeiting and the automotive industry. Finally, the paper examines a set of specific incidents in Michigan, and describes the nature of the incidents, the key players involved in the counterfeiting, and the victims of the counterfeiting. Policy implications are discussed that include review of existing State-level intellectual property rights legislation, focusing training on counterfeit product identification and investigation, facilitating interagency coordination, and raising awareness and needs of local and State police. 42 references and 29 endnotes