Nike was the world’s most counterfeited brand in 2013, the second Illicit Trade Report of the World Customs Organization (WCO) reveals. The ranking is based on the number of customs seizures filed in 2013 and shows that the footwear and apparel giant came out on top with 1,123 cases, replacing the first place holder for 2012—Cialis. Apple occupied the second spot with 867 seizures reported.
The brand with the third highest number of counterfeit cases last year was Rolex, with customs reporting 809 instances of items marketed under the brand name without the authorization of the watchmaker. Next was Samsung with 631 cases, followed by Adidas (532 cases), Louis Vuitton (497 cases), Chanel (464 cases), Cialis (425 cases), and Viagra (365 cases). Among the top 15 brands that fell victim to counterfeiting last year were Gucci (307 cases), Michael Kors (285 cases), Otterbox (223 cases), Burberry (191 cases), Mac Cosmetics (182 cases), and Walt Disney (182 cases).
Overall, there were just three new entrants (Samsung, Michael Kors, and Otterbox) to the top 15 list of brands most severely damaged by counterfeiting in 2013. The pharmaceutical sector emerged as the industry most targeted by fraudulent manufacturers, accounting for more than 50% of reported cases related to illicit products. Counterfeit electronic appliances were the second largest group affected by IP rights seizures, followed by illicit foodstuffs. This is a dramatic change over 2012, when the majority of intercepted goods fell into the accessories category, followed by clothing, and then pharmaceutical products.
Sixty-nine countries reported seizures of counterfeit goods in 2013 compared to 58 the previous year.
The report also cites an emerging trend in the increase of domestic assembly cases in order to circumvent customs controls where small parts and blank products are imported separately to then be assembled in the country of destination.