US Senate makes July counterfeit awareness month

The US Senate has passed a resolution declaring July the national anti-counterfeit awareness month.

The move has been welcomed by the International Trademark Association (INTA), which said that educating the public about the potential harms of counterfeiting "is critically important to the efforts of policymakers, law enforcement, brand owners and consumer groups to eradicate counterfeit goods from the marketplace."

The resolution was sponsored by Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), who serves as co-chair of the Congressional Trademark Caucus and is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, as well as Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the co-chair of the Congressional Trademark Caucus.

The resolution has been passed in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Lanham Act, which laid the foundation for a modern federal trademark registration system.

"Not only are trademarks critical for companies’ ability to grow and create jobs, but they also play an important role in communicating the authenticity and integrity of products and services to customers," said Coons.

"Counterfeit products can put consumers’ health at risk. For example, counterfeit batteries, sometimes featuring fake trademarks, have been linked to increased risks of spontaneous fires—a clear safety hazard if that battery is in a consumer product such as a children’s toy," he added.

Designating a month to counterfeit consumer education and awareness should foster greater consumer awareness of this problem and the role that intellectual property such as trademarks plays in protecting consumers, continued Coons.

The US Chamber of Commerce's Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) recently released a report which examined the share of physical counterfeiting for the 38 world economies and sheds insight on the growth of the problem.

The report suggested that customs authorities are only seizing as little as 2.5 per cent of the value of total estimated counterfeits.

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