Facts About Fashion Fakes

Arlington, VA–To mark the 10th anniversary of World Intellectual Property Day this week, the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) released a fact sheet identifying the impact counterfeiting has on the U.S. apparel, accessories and footwear industries.

“Each year, footwear, apparel, and fashion accessories rank at the top of the list of counterfeit goods seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection,”  explains AAFA president and CEO Kevin Burke.  “At $140 million, fake shoes, clothes and fashion accessories, like handbags and wallets, accounted for well over half of the $260 million in counterfeit goods seized by Customs  in 2009.”

5 Facts on Fashion Fakes:

1: According to U.S. Customs and Border Pro­tection, there were nearly 15,000 seizures of fake goods that were smuggled in il­legally in 2009. With an estimated value of more than $260 million, it is clear that this is just the tip of the iceberg, AAFA officials say.
2: In 2009, footwear continued to be the number-one commodity of counterfeit goods seized by Customs, ac­counting for 38% of all infringed goods collected. The estimated value of seized footwear is just short of $100 million.
3: Fashion accessories, such a belts, wallets and handbags, were the third most commonly seized fakes with an estimated value of $21.5 million.
4: Apparel ranks number four on the list of top seized goods. Customs collected fake apparel worth more than $21 million.
5: Following the lead of many retailers, international counterfeiters are developing online retail outlets, selling fake oods directly to consumers through e-commerce avenues. This practice allows smaller shipments to sometimes pass unseen through Custom’s strict screening processes.

Counterfeiting goods is one of the fastest growing crimes in the country. The total value of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) seizures rose more than 25% a year between 2005 and 2008, according to US Customs and Border Protection. Last year, because of the recession, IPR seizures and the value of the seizures dropped slightly: 1% and 4%, respectively. Still, there were 14,841 IPR seizures in 2009 with a domestic value of $260.7 million. And in the context of an overall 25% drop in US imports, “really, we equate that slight dip to an increase,” says Richard Halverson of the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, which coordinates the U.S. government’s enforcement of IPR.

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