Dubai: The Department of Economic Development (DED) continues to capture counterfeit goods and this year has seized a record 11.5 million fake goods, worth an estimated Dh27.6 million in the first three months of this year. Abdullah Al Shehi, Director of Intellectual Property Protection Department, Commercial Compliance & Consumer Protection (CCCP) sector, DED, tells XPRESS on how not to get cheated and buy genuine stuff.
How many counterfeit products has the department seized so far this year (in dirhams)?
We seized 11,623,073 counterfeit goods in the first quarter of 2014. Going by the actual price of the brands, the value of the goods confiscated was around Dh27,681,277.
What were these products?
The most prominent among them were perfumes and cosmetics, auto parts, bags, leather products, readymade garments, phones, watches, accessories and electronic devices.
Is there a way that consumers can distinguish a fake product from a genuine one?
One of the easiest ways to distinguish a fake product from a genuine one is the familiarity that a consumer develops over time with his/her favourite brand. Another way is judging the product by its appearance, i.e. checking whether the product or packaging is of poor quality. Buying from an authorised dealer is the best way to ensure genuineness of a product. The price of the product also could be a pointer to counterfeiting, especially when a product known to be expensive is offered at a lesser price.
Apart from selling directly in the market, are there other ways in which fake products are sold?
Any transaction that takes place in a secretive or out-of-the-ordinary way should arouse suspicion, such as a seller taking you to a back street to sell you something. Buying online from websites that have no licensed office in the country of delivery could expose the buyer to malpractices. One should also be wary of goods that come without warranty or after-sale service.
What action is taken against the sellers?
Action taken against trademark infringement and counterfeiting includes confiscation and destruction of the seized products in addition to fines. Closing of outlet follows for repeat offence and even cancellation of licences in special cases.