June 1, 2012

Chanel, Hermes, Louis Vuitton: 3 Years Imprisonment For Owning Fakes

Founded in 1954 by Jean-Jacques Guerlain, Le Comité Colbert, a French association of 75 luxury brands, such as Hermès, Lancôme, Cartier, Chanel and Vuitton, is about to start an extensive campaign against counterfeit goods, with the support of a series of other European countries.

During the latest years, especially due to Internet sales, the underground economy of counterfeit goods has immensely flourished, becoming increasingly strong, with about 85% of fakes being manufactured in Asia.

The campaign initiated by Comité Colbert consists of the distribution of 10,000 posters and 50,000 flyers at customs offices of 18 of the most important French airports, meant to discourage tourists from buying counterfeit merchandise through a series of humorous messages.

  It won’t be a lucky charm in customs.

Place your money on the wrong horse and it’ll cost you a lot.

The next fashion show will take place…in court.

  A true lady doesn’t wear fakes.

With this phone, you can always call your lawyer.

France is currently the only country to consider a crime the simple act of owning a counterfeit product, an act punishable by law with a fine of €300,000 and 3 years of imprisonment. Once every two years, the Comité Colbert initiates campaigns meant to inform and prevent the trafficking of counterfeit goods and this year, Italy, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and Croatia are collaborating through the distribution of flyers among their own national airports. The association’s future plan is to get the entire European Union on board with helping eradicate the trafficking of fake merchandise.

In Europe, during 2009 and 2010, the number of confiscated fake goods at customs offices has doubled, reaching 103 million products and adding up to €1.1 million. And given that the goods closely resemble the original products, it has become increasingly difficult to spot a fake, both by customs officers, as well as by people who buy them.

In France, luxury companies lose a revenue of €6 billion annually, as stated by Comité Colbert officials. On an international level, the number reaches a whopping $1,000 billion. The famous Louis Vuitton monogrammed bags are top of the list when it comes to fake products.

The rise of sales made over the Internet is a contributing factor to all of this, due to its rapid expansion. Patrick Thomas, CEO of Hermès, has stated that some websites may feature up to 80% fake goods advertised to belong to the French company. To remedy this, the Comité Colbert has reached out to banks as well as online payment operators, such as Visa, Mastercard, American Express and PayPal.

Photos courtesy of: fashionadexplorer.com, meltyfashion.fr, stylefrizz.com