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Countering counterfeit, really!


WHILE STROLLING down New Delhi's Janpath you would have noticed small shops selling T-Shirts and fashion accessories with logos like Nike, Calvin Klein and Reebok. But have you ever thought how could these petty traders sell products of such big names in the fashion business? Actually there are two sets of people . One wishes to sport `trademark' clothes but want to have them for peanuts. They are not concerned about the quality. The other group wants quality but is either oblivious of the quality of the original product or does not have the ticker to take action against the unscrupulous traders. The result is that piracy has become so rampant in India that as soon as a fashion giant enters the country, the market is flooded with counterfeit goods of the company. While the counterfeiters make hay the brand image suffers. It has happened with Gucci, DKNY and many others. The unwary buyers are misled into buying inferior quality goods under the impression as if they are purchasing the genuine product.

But now Louis Vuitton, the French global leader in high quality leather fashion accessories has decided to counter the menace. It has launched an aggressive drive in India to confiscate duplicate and counterfeit products. As a part of the drive a raid was conducted by police in North Goa confiscating 20-25 lakhs worth of fake Louis Vuitton products.

According to company sources, some individuals or companies have attempted to make identical trademarks - `LV' - represented in a special logo format and the flower design with intent to cause confusion and deception, and make huge profits by sale of the fake goods.

"Counterfeiting and falsifying the trademarks of goods is a criminal offence under Section 420 of IPC and Section 78,79 of Trade and Merchandise Marks Act 1958 and Section 63 of the Copyright Act," says Praveen Anand , renowned Intellectual Property Rights Lawyer, whose firm is looking after the IP rights matters of Louis Vuitton in the country. "As the counterfeit products are of dubious quality, the brand image gets diluted. People cease to buy the original product," adds Anand.

Established in 1854, Louis Vuitton has created a mark for itself in categories that include handbags to luggage articles, office stationery, pens and personal accessories, etc.

The company has recently opened its exclusive sales outlet at the Oberoi Hotel in New Delhi.

ANUJ KUMAR

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