Managing Counterfeits at Indian Shores

International trade in India is not only affecting the country economy, the balance of payment situation, and the forex reserves but is also affecting financials of various corporates by compromises to their intellectual property.

On one hand, in case of imports of goods, there are processes for protecting IP of brand owners at Indian customs but on the other hand, no such mechanism is there, for the exports of goods from India. There are cases where organizations business continuity has been put at huge risk due to unchecked counterfeit exports from India. We have seen how in 2015 one of the largest food MNC had to face a backlash in US when their products were banned in USA, after suspected counterfeit exports by some miscreants from India.

Government of India, with a view of increasing the exports is “kind of” ignoring the fact that, there are counterfeit exports which are happening from Indian soil, which either affect the growth of Indian brands overseas or creates an unfair competition to the MNC brands in the global market. There is literally no monitoring of the type or exports from India, from IP protection perspective. But if we compare it to China, we still have very sound IP laws, which at least work in India geography and action can still be taken against such exports, just like a normal counterfeiter supplying in India. The only challenge in this case is that, it is difficult to identify such violations, as goods are not sold in India (or even monitored at the Indian shores by the custom authorities). Custom authorities in India, have a larger mandate for monitoring imports into the country. Some of the sectors like fashion (garments, shoes etc.), Auto Components, sports goods, engineering products have been largely exported as counterfeits from India.

In case of imports of goods, issues regarding legality of parallel imports and lax/ compromised custom enforcement, which have led to a huge surge of counterfeit imports into India. Electronics, personal care, homecare, toys, hand tools etc. have been largely imported as counterfeits from China, Hong Kong, Thailand, and Taiwan etc.

So for Indian & MNC brands it is very important not only to engage effectively with the custom authorities to check counterfeit imports but also to device mechanisms to monitor the counterfeit exports. is the first platform, which has created processes and mechanisms, to help brand owners to monitor & control the import & exports from India, as an important component of their brand protection strategy.

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