With just a few weeks until the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London begins, the International Trademark Association is issuing a warning to fans hoping to buy official Olympic products and offering tips on how to spot fake merchandise.
Unsuspecting tourists and fans are targeted by counterfeiters looking to take advantage of the excitement over the Olympic Games. In fact, British authorities have already seized thousands of fake Olympic merchandise such as shirts, vests, bags and cigarette lighters in ports around the country.
INTA is committed to raising awareness about fake Olympic goods and apparel. Counterfeiters use sub-par materials that leave consumers with second-rate merchandise and without any recourse to recover the money they have spent. In addition, counterfeit goods may not be manufactured in accordance with safety standards.
To avoid inadvertently purchasing counterfeit apparel and other merchandise, consumers should:
1. Look for the official Olympic hologram on merchandise (when the hologram is tilted, the logo will appear rotating).
2. Shop in official Olympic stores and on designated websites (be wary of street and out-of-trunk vendors).
3. Ensure that athletes’ names and countries are spelled correctly.
4. Not buy items of poor quality that have irregular stitching or uneven coloring.
5. Be cautious of items with prices that are uncharacteristically low.
“Fans from around the world will want to capture their memories of the Summer Games by purchasing memorabilia,” said Alan C. Drewsen, INTA Executive Director. “This is why we have provided these tips for shoppers. The last thing we want to see happen is the Olympic spirit tainted by a deceitful counterfeiter.”
According to a study by Frontier Economics, more than two million legitimate jobs are destroyed by counterfeiting and piracy each year across the globe. It is estimated that the value of counterfeit and pirated goods could grow to $1.77 trillion by 2015. INTERPOL has identified counterfeiting to be among its top priority crimes, as purchases of these goods fund other criminal activities down the line.