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Intellectual property enforcement

The trade in counterfeited goods and pirated copyright protected works - often referred to as counterfeits, fakes or knock offs – is a growing problem around the world.

The OECD estimated that the global trade in counterfeit goods and pirated works was valued at US$200 billion in 2005 growing to an estimated US$250 billion by 2007.  Estimates exclude the value of infringing digital works traded as well as domestically created and traded counterfeit goods.

New Zealand is not immune to the problem.  Trade mark owners and copyright holders are reporting a growth in the sale of counterfeits here.  This is reflected in New Zealand Customs Service statistics showing that more counterfeits are being found at the border.

Impacts of counterfeiting

The sale of counterfeits deprives honest businesses of income, deters investment in quality products and services, and damages the profitability of creative and innovative industries.

There is growing evidence that counterfeits can also pose serious health and safety risks through the use of inferior quality and sometimes poisonous ingredients, materials and manufacturing processes.

What gets counterfeited?

The types of goods commonly targeted by counterfeiters are luxury items, because their retail price often greatly exceeds their costs to manufacture and distribute.  Typical counterfeits include fashion clothing, footwear, accessories, perfume, sunglasses, handbags, watches, caps and jewellery.

New technologies have facilitated the copying, distribution and sale of pirated movies, music and software.  Many other types of goods are also being counterfeited, such as auto parts, electronics goods, motorcycles, cigarettes, medicines, sporting equipment, toys, drinks and foodstuffs.

Enforcing your intellectual property rights

If you own intellectual property, you are responsible for monitoring the way it is used and protecting it against infringement.

Read more about Enforcing your intellectual property rights

Review of the enforcement of criminal offences

The Ministry has completed a project reviewing the criminal remedies regime for trading in counterfeited goods and pirated copyright protected works.

Read more about Review of the enforcement of criminal offences

Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

New Zealand signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) on 1 October 2011.

Read more about Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement


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Last updated 6 December 2011