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Los Angeles Times Features Investigator of Counterfeit Jeans

The Los Angeles Times today features an LA-based lawyer on the hunt for fake designer jeans.

The lawyer likens his job to playing “Whac-a-Mole.”

The statistics bear that out: the International Anticounterfeiting Coalition estimates the global trade in counterfeit goods has grown from $5.5 billion per year in 1982 to $600 billion today.

And the Los Angeles Police Department only has six detectives assigned to finding counterfeit merchandise. The division seized $17 million in counterfeit goods this year and typically busts only three to four sellers per month. (I’m sure the numbers are even more modest in smaller markets like Seattle.)

That puts a big burden on the manufacturers themselves. True Religion Brand Jeans, the designer featured in the article, says it has “tentacles spread through major metropolitan areas” looking for fakes.

The article says: “Investigators aim to go up the supply chain. Companies typically sue the merchants, who then give up the names of their suppliers. Getting to the suppliers’ suppliers is the next big step.”

“But it’s hard to catch the people at the top….”

For years, True Religion’s attorney has been looking for a supplier he calls the “Big Fish” that informants tell him sells $7 million in counterfeit jeans per year.

“With this kind of investigation you really don’t know who’s behind it, but as you start bringing more people into the lawsuit, you find out more,” he says.

Posted on September 6, 2008 by Registered CommenterMichael Atkins in | CommentsPost a Comment

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