Potecting your product from counterfeiters when you can’t trust the courts

Unspun had an interesting breafast last week in which participants were discussing tactics of protecting their products from counterfeiters. The problem with dealing with counterfeiters, aid, one participant is that the police want money for cracking down on them. Then it is a bidding game between you and the counterfeiters as to whether they are prosecuted or they walk.

But even if they are prosecuted there is another stage to get through before justice is done: the courts. There it is even harder as half the judges do not know what they are doing and the bidding war begins even before they take on the case.

So what to do? One chap has it all figured out. “Forget the courts,” he said. “Just use the police.” This is what he does: he keeps reporting counterfeiters to the police and furnishing them proof to convict the counterfeiters. This he does constantly, often and at as many different police stations as possible. And that’s all he does. He does not bother to try to get a conviction or take the matter as a civil suit in the courts.

The rationale, he said, was to increase the cost of business of the counterfeiters. Each time he reports to the police, the police are very happy because he has just opened up a new source of reenue for them. So the police go there and get them to pay goodwill money for not convicting them. For good measure my friend turns up the publicity on the case. This drives up the amount of protection moneythe police would need from the counterfeiters to “settle” the case.

My friend reckons that if he does it enough, the police will love him and the counterfeiters would move to other brands or products because the protection costs associated  with his product would be too prohibitive for counterfeiters. Now that’s using economics creatively!

5 thoughts on “Potecting your product from counterfeiters when you can’t trust the courts

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  1. Your friend needs to develop a reputation for doing so, not only to drive out the counterfeiters, but also to create barrier to entry – for future counterfeiters of his products… Anyway, it’s creative and adaptive… *LOL*


  2. Such a cynical, although effective, response. It does not address the corruptibility of the police or the courts, but then again, it is not your friend’s job to fix our mounting problems. However, it does perpetuate corruption within the force, as his information gives the police the targets for a “shakedown”.

    Doesn’t anyone (in government) see this as a negative for getting new investment?


  3. Just: Yes, it doesn’t address the deeper issues of what’s wrong in Indonesia. But businesspeople have to survive and they do what’s practical. Addressing the larger issues like corruption is a state job. It needs political will and leadership to get that juggernaut moving.

    While it is fine to adopt an “everybody’s responsible for stamping out corruption” attitude, make no bones about it: solving corruption is a political task and that is what politicians are, theoratically at least, for.


  4. Not wanting to pick a fight but everyone should have a responsibility in fighting corruption, our politicians included. But having corporations act selfishly in their own interest does not help the big picture. Ever see the documentary “The Corporation”?

    Or maybe I’m just too much of an idealist. Because all this bad news must stop somewhere….. or must we wait for our own Evo Morales?


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