Inside the Knockoff-Tennis-Shoe Factory

Nicholas Schmidle writes about the transnational counterfeit industry and intellectual property rights in China, with particular regards to the knockoff tennis shoe industry. For the New York Times:

In the last fiscal year, U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized more than $260 million worth of counterfeit goods. The goods included counterfeit Snuggies, DVDs, brake pads, computer parts and baby formula. But for four years, counterfeit footwear has topped the seizure list of the customs service; in the last fiscal year it accounted for nearly 40 percent of total seizures. (Electronics made up the second-largest share in that year, with about 12 percent of the total.) The customs service doesn’t break down seizures by brand, but demand for the fake reflects demand for the real, and Nike is widely considered to be the most counterfeited brand. One Nike employee estimated that there was one fake Nike item for every two authentic ones. But Peter Koehler, Nike’s global counsel for brand and litigation, told me that “counting the number of counterfeits is frankly impossible.”

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