Could that luxury brand product you just bought be a counterfeit? Counterfeit goods circulating in the market inevitably causes major damage to company brands and the trust that they have built up with hard work and effort.
There are other issues, too. Luxury goods must meet extremely exacting standards of durability and safety, standards from which counterfeit goods are exempt. Products with durability problems break and are discarded after only a few uses, and there are cases in which consumer health is threatened, such as when materials containing potentially harmful substances such as lead are used to make clothes.
There is, furthermore, the risk of serious secondary damage--for example, sellers of counterfeit goods misusing customers' personal information.
Counterfeit goods are products that infringe on intellectual property rights such as trademarks, patents, or copyrights. In countries and regions around the world, there are already laws established that set out prison terms and fines for people who are involved in the manufacture and distribution of counterfeit goods; in addition, online countermeasures, legislation, and self-regulation measures continue to be strengthened. Handling or purchasing counterfeit goods means lending support, either directly or indirectly, to illicit behavior.
YKK brand protection efforts
Even considering YKK in isolation, the damage caused by counterfeit zippers is significant. But if the problem is ignored, the negative impact extends beyond our company to all those brands that use YKK® fastening products, and this is why we are pursuing various countermeasures. Specifically, YKK engages in counterfeit goods enforcement initiatives against factories and die makers involved in making YKK counterfeit zippers, and educational initiatives aimed at encouraging garment factories and sales companies to drop the counterfeit goods and use official YKK® zippers instead.
YKK also works with customs agencies to help prevent the import of counterfeit goods. In Japan, the U.S., and other places, YKK holds seminars for customs officers and teaches methods for determining if zippers on imported items such as clothes and bags are genuine YKK® products. If governments can distinguish real and counterfeit YKK® zippers, they can stop counterfeit brand goods at the border, before they enter the market. We are expanding our efforts to work with customs and other government agencies in China as well as South Korea, Hong Kong, and India.
Forming partnerships to implement counterfeiting countermeasures
The problem of counterfeit goods cannot be solved only by stopping YKK® counterfeits. Knowing this, in 2012 we launched the Brand Protection Partnership (B.P.P.) initiative in order to promote information sharing among a large number of companies and groups, beginning with YKK's customers and suppliers.
As a business-to-business company, YKK is in a position to spearhead the exchange of opinions about counterfeiting countermeasures. With steady and open cooperation, we are transcending industry borders.
In 2013, major e-commerce companies in Japan approved this initiative and began to actively work to eradicate counterfeit goods. Now, the removal of counterfeit goods from e-commerce markets is standard practice.
In the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) formulated by the United Nations for 2030, goal number 17 states the necessity of "partnerships." Currently, government agencies, public companies, the police, customs offices and other entities from various sectors are working together to eradicate counterfeit goods.
We are actively tackling counterfeiting through our B.P.P. initiative, by sharing expertise about customs prohibitions and corporate enforcement, mutually providing services to protect brands, and more. In order to maintain and strengthen these partnerships, we are taking additional measures with workshop programs, distinguishing real and counterfeit goods, cooperative enforcement, and more.
Through these brand protection initiatives, YKK aims to provide more reliable and stable products to users and to protect client brands. As we bolster these initiatives and partnerships still further, we hope to contribute to overall greater stability in the global market.