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Taxation and Customs Union

How to identify fakes and other IPR infringing goods

The following indications can help you detect IPR infringing goods.

  • Examine the quality of the product. The quality of infringing goods is often lower than that of the originals.
  • Be wary of unusually low prices. Although not all fakes are sold at a lower price than the originals, a suspiciously low price is still a good indicator.If it looks too good to be true, then it probably is.
  • Inspect the packaging carefully. The packaging of infringing goods is often dodgy and does not indicate the address of the manufacturer and the importer. Furthermore, many right holders mark their products with holograms, control numbers and/or other security measures. Those can help you understand whether the product is original or not.
  • Check if logos and trademarks are displayed correctly. At first glance, an infringing product may appear identical to the genuine one. On a closer look, however, you may be able to identify some differences. For example, logos may be badly reproduced and trademarks deliberately or accidentally misspelled.
  • When buying goods over the Internet, do not hesitate to ask precise questions to the sellers or auctioneers in order to get more information about the supply chain and to make sure that the goods are coming from a legal source.
  • Buy medicines from safe, reputable sources. If you buy them online, be wary of websites offering to supply prescription-only medicines without a prescription. You risk being supplied with medicines that are not effective or safe.
  • Check the instructions manual. Normally it should be in your language and should not contain grammar or spelling mistakes.
  • When in doubt, contact or check out the website of the manufacturer of the genuine product. Many right holders have information on their websites to help customers detect fakes, including pictures and descriptions of the originals.
  • Remember that movies that are still running in cinemas are normally not available on DVD, and that movies or music CDs are normally not sold on DVD-R or CD-R (writable CDs and DVDs).

If you hold an intellectual property right and you have valid grounds to suspect your right is being infringed, you should lodge an application for action with your national customs authorities. See our dedicated page for further information.