With globalization and expanded manufacturing capabilities in dozens of countries, trafficking of counterfeit goods is increasing in the United States and around the world, and it costs legitimate businesses billions of dollars a year in lost sales and damaged reputations while sometimes endangering consumers.
Overall, the value of counterfeit goods crossing international borders is more than $250 billion, according to a recent report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Other sources estimate that it's double that.
Traditionally, counterfeit consumer goods included apparel, watches and handbags, along with music and video CDs/DVDs. These days, regulators are concerned about health and safety hazards posed by pharmaceuticals, military and civilian aircraft parts, baby formula and toothpaste, electronic equipment and batteries, among other products.
Manufacturers are finding a need to take steps at home and abroad to protect intellectual property, track down counterfeiters and traffickers, warn retailers and cooperate with authorities. The cost of ignoring this problem is high.