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Counterfeit goods hurt Swiss economy

Switzerland's economy is affected by counterfeit products Keystone

Counterfeit goods are causing “enormous damage” to the economy, according to the Swiss Brands Association, Promarca.

This content was published on October 8, 2003 - 16:01

A study published on Wednesday in Bern shows that Switzerland is one of the countries worst affected by fake goods in Europe.

According to the report, which was carried out by the European Brands Association (EBA), 21 counterfeit products appeared on the Swiss market between 2000 and 2001.

In all, 470 examples of counterfeit goods were discovered in 12 European countries over the same period.

“Switzerland is one of the countries that has a very big problem with counterfeit products,” said Gabi Dischinger of Promarca.

Although legal action was launched in 12 out of the 21 Swiss cases, only two of them actually reached court.

These involved copies of Switzerland’s “Rivella” lemonade (which became Apiella) and “Merci” chocolate (Grazie). Out-of-court settlements were agreed in the other ten cases.

Promarca blamed the generally lacklustre response to counterfeiters on the close-knit Swiss market, where the onus was on maintaining good relations among competitors.

Big loss

Promarca was unable to supply concrete figures for losses to the Swiss economy, but a 1998 study conducted by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) showed that counterfeit goods made up five to seven per cent of the global market or SFr250 billion ($190 billion).

Within the European Union, the bill runs to an estimated SFr2 billion a year.

Promarca says copying established brands is a very good way of attracting consumers who often mistake the fake for the original.

“Disappointment with the counterfeit product often has a negative effect on the original, as the consumer associates both products with each other,” said Promarca.

According to the EBA, Spain and Italy are the countries worst affected by counterfeit goods in Europe.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

In Switzerland 21 counterfeit brands made it on the market between 2000 and 2001.
In 1997/98, 32 counterfeit products were reported in Switzerland.
470 cases of counterfeit products were registered in 12 European countries during the same time period.

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