Wales Heads of Trading Standards

Improving Trading Standards in Wales

Penaethiaid Safonau Masnach Cymru Yn Gwella Safonau Masnach Yng Nghymru

Counterfeiting in the workplace

The Intellectual Property Group of Wales Heads of Trading Standards works to prevent the theft of Intellectual Property (IP). Part of the work of the Group is to raise awareness of the implications for Welsh businesses of IP theft. Ideas and innovation are the lifeblood of industry and business, especially for small and medium sized businesses. Just like physical property intellectual property can be stolen when products are copied and marketed for profit without the consent of the genuine rights owner.

Surveys indicate that the workplace is a significant forum for the sale of counterfeits and for various kinds of online infringement including illegal file sharing and downloading of copyrighted music. Recent figures suggest that 17% of counterfeit DVDs and 13% of home-burned DVDs are purchased at work. Other products such as branded clothing, footwear, perfumes, fake mobile phones and other luxury items are sometimes sold by employees to work colleagues.

Fake items undercut legitimate businesses causing job losses and business failure. Every legitimate buisiness in the supply chain is affected from the manufacturer to the end retailer. Fake items are poor quality and can often be dangerous to use eg fake electrical items. The manufacture of counterfeit items is funded by and supports people trafficking, terrorism and drug distribution. Products are often made using child labour.

Business owners could be implicated in the supply of counterfeit products in the workplace by allowing the illegal trade to take place. The IP Crime Group recommends that business owners consult with staff if they believe they have a problem with the workplace being used to trade fakes.

The Group has circulated the following fact sheet, produced by the Anti-Counterfeiting Group, and a downloadable poster to assist Welsh businesses in tackling the problem.

Counterfeiting in the workplace (PDF 317KB)
Employee warning poster (PDF 121KB)

For further advice on Intellectual Property contact your local Trading Standards Service