Counterfeit goods are, by definition, goods which infringe the rights of a trade mark holder either by displaying a trade mark identical to a protected trade mark or by using an identification mark which “cannot be distinguished in its essential aspects from such trade mark”. The spread of counterfeit goods has become global in recent years. According to the Counterfeiting Intelligence Bureau (CIB) of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), counterfeit goods make up 5% to 7% of world trade. A report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) states that up to $200 billion of international trade could have been in counterfeit and pirated goods in 2005, and around $250 billion in 2007. Others estimate a figure closer to $600 billion lost since the OECD estimates do not include online sales nor goods counterfeited and sold within the same country. The range of counterfeited consumer goods is wide. Besides watches, purses, cigarettes, alcohol, and pirated movies and software, larger items such as motorcycles and cars are also counterfeited. There is a rapidly growing trade in counterfeit drugs and computer parts, with some counterfeit parts discovered to be in use inadvertently by NASA, the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Army.
The development of technology such as colour printing and imaging has, in many ways, facilitated the production of counterfeited goods and packaging. It has become much easier for individuals to duplicate or replicate receipts, bar codes and product packaging, leaving brand owners increasingly vulnerable to fraud.