The Dubai Economic Department (DED) has been very active over the years in cracking down on the sales of counterfeit goods and this has had an effect. The supposed tourist attraction in Karama, where people could buy branded watches, handbags and T-shirts for a fraction of the prices offered at the legitimate outlets, is often deserted nowadays. But the skilled salesmen, with their large stocks of lookalike goods apparently branded with some of the retail world’s most distinguished names, have taken to social media to continue to ply their trade.
This is why the DED have extended their campaign against the counterfeiters to the virtual world and have closed almost 9,000 social media accounts in 2016 for peddling counterfeit goods. The DED had to work with the Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRA) to enforce the closures and they also led to a number of raids on villas and other buildings used as stores for these sites offering these illegal sales.
This is an important part of protecting trademarks and intellectual property and ensuring that Dubai is seen a quality place in which to do business. While it may have been fun for visitors to look for fake goods and feel that they got a bargain, the reality is that such blatant rejection of the law is harming Dubai’s reputation.
But enforcement of the law has to apply across the board and not be limited to the shops that focused entirely on selling counterfeits. It is all too likely that some apparently respectable outlets in malls may be seeking the same increased margins by offering counterfeit goods.