Wednesday, September 30, 2009

New French Crackdown on “Counterfeit Tourism”

As reported in several major European publications, new laws have customs officials in France starting to crackdown on what they are calling “counterfeit tourism” – that is people from other countries who buy or bring in counterfeit goods while they are visiting France.

This is a significant shift in the enforcement of anti-counterfeiting laws. While other country’s police and customs authorities only target suppliers of counterfeit goods, in France, the authorities are now focusing on those who buy fake goods or bring counterfeit products into the country.

These new laws mean that French tourists could now be fined up to a maximum of €300,000 ($450,000) or face up to three years in jail if they are found to be in possession of or purchasing fake goods.

While certainly outside a traditional law enforcement tactic, this is seen as a significant step in changing the perception of the purchase of counterfeit goods with consumers. As with some crimes, many feel that the issue of fake goods is a “victimless” crime and do not understand the macro consequences of safety, health and economic well being that are impacted heavily by counterfeit goods.

It will be interesting to observe the enforcement, repercussions and effectiveness of these new laws in France.

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