“The OECD estimates that international trade in counterfeit and pirated goods was worth around $250 billion in 2007.” Others put the loss to business much higher, according to the Economist, March 6, 2010 at 81, for various reasons. One reason is that much of the world’s manufacturing now takes place in countries with poor protection of intellectual property. The internet has also allowed much easier means of distributing knock-offs.
The article quotes a British lawyer as saying that “Lawsuits brought by companies against manufacturers and distributors of counterfeits are at an all-time high.” Risks and losses on this scale justify attention by the legal department, even though its involvement must necessarily be alongside other groups in the company (See my post of May 5, 2008: Lenovo law department is very involved; June 11, 2008: vendors that locate and acquire fake products; Sept. 9, 2008: keep outside the law department’s budget some costs of fighting counterfeits; Oct. 11, 2008: role of law departments in anti-counterfeiting; Feb. 19, 2009: Bosch and its anti-counterfeiting team; and Nov. 11, 2009: Gucci and whether to count anti-counterfeiting firms as law firms.).