Chapter 1: Economic, legal and social impacts of counterfeiting
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Today, the keywords ‘counterfeiting’ and ‘piracy’ in the context of intellectual property are omnipresent in the public awareness. Searching for these terms on Google leads to countless hits, reporting on crime and danger. Many of these websites deplore the dramatic fate of the innovative industries concerned which are under increasing global assault. Yet, according to such websites, these industries are not the only victims. Counterfeiting of goods by infringing intellectual property rights (IPRs) allegedly also threatens consumers’ health, based on the fact that some of the most affected sectors are pharmaceutical industries (drugs), producers of technical devices (spare parts) and other manufactured articles (most significantly toys). Industrial designs and particularly the entertainment industries are similarly concerned. They all invoke the negative impact of counterfeiting for global economic growth, since it is ultimately supposed to endanger jobs. A further detail that repeatedly appears on these websites focuses on the locations where the counterfeit goods are produced; some countries recur again and again, most prominently China.

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Edited by Christophe Geiger