As Halloween approaches on the 31st of this month, United Kingdom’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) released a statement warning trick or treaters against buying counterfeit Halloween costumes as they pose a risk of poisoning from untested dyes and suffocation from unsuitable fastenings. PIPCU also stated that the packaging of counterfeits is not up to the safety standards.
Other concerns of buying counterfeit products online include risk of identity theft of shoppers through their names and bank account details. PIPCU advised shoppers to check the website for spelling and grammatical errors in the URLs and also ensure that the payment gateway is protected by an SSL encryption which is evident by the ‘https’ at the beginning of the URL.
- Halloween costumes usually use the image of a popular character, designs or catchphrases/names of popular characters which is the sole intellectual property right of the owner of such movies/cartoon/comic. Unauthorised reproduction of them amounts to IP infringement.
- Online counterfeits are much more prevalent when it comes to holidays, especially Halloween. Not only does it cause issues to the buyers it also impacts the intellectual properties of the legitimate companies. As Dominique Peckett, the director of costume company Smiffy’s says “We take infringement of our IP rights extremely serious, as it represents a direct attack on our business and is theft of our intellectual creations.”
- PIPCU’s statement underlines identity theft as a common phenomenon used by counterfeiters. This is also prevalent in India as a lot of unsuspecting customers give out their details while buying counterfeit products online.