Luxury Products, Clothing and Accessories
Luxury products imply the products exceeding the usual characteristics of products in the same category, differing from them mostly by higher quality, more attractive layout, distinctiveness, reduced series and correspondingly higher price. In addition to their usage value, luxury products have an additional symbolic value, since they are mostly brought in connection with a higher social status.
With luxury products, there is a substantial amount of work and resources that is being invested in conceiving a distinctive, characteristic, recognizable design of a product and creating a trademark representing a recognizable brand of its holder on the market. A protected trademark or a brand represents its holder’s property used for protection of a holder’s investment in quality and reputation of a product, enjoying as such the legal protection.
In earlier years, it is exactly luxury products that were the main subject matter of counterfeiting; however, a trend of counterfeiting has spread practically across all categories of products today.
Counterfeit clothing, primarily luxury pieces and sportswear, belong to the most counterfeit products in the European Union (EU) Member States, and in Croatia as well. The usual technique of counterfeiting implies the import of plain clothes into one of the EU Member States, getting subsequently affixed protected trademarks of renowned brands separately imported or produced, and then “final” products are being released for sale on the territory of other EU Member States, using a free cross-border transport and trade. In most cases, the countries representing a source of counterfeit production imported into the EU Member States, including Croatia as well, are China, Thailand and Turkey.
In addition to clothing, it is the so called accessories, such as sunglasses and leather products (mostly
women’s handbags), that are being counterfeited to a great extent.
Perfumes also belong to a group of luxury products that are very often being counterfeited. Original perfumes are usually being sold in specialized shops, and it is estimated for approximately 95% of counterfeit perfumes to be sold on a grey market on street stands or small shops at reduced prices. Unlike other categories of counterfeit products, counterfeit luxury products, clothing and accessories are often being bought consciously, since it is not understood to be something socially unacceptable or harmful. However, as with other categories of counterfeit products, apart from posing a risk to health (for example, due to harmful chemicals used in products when brought in contact with the skin), a few important facts need to be emphasised:
- Counterfeiting contributes to the losses of the state where counterfeits are produced
- Counterfeiting contributes to the losses of the state where counterfeits are sold
- Counterfeiting contributes to the social losses in total (e.g. unemployment)
- Counterfeits affect consumers
- Counterfeiting causes substantial losses to the legal economy i.e. the holders of intellectual property rights