Counterfeit careers!
May 22, 2008 6:52 AM   Subscribe

I love counterfeiting. Especially counterfeit toys and clothes, cars and other crazy items! I LOVE counterfeiting. I want to explore the possibility of a career in intellectual property law or other careers that have to do with counterfeiting (like: becoming a counterfeiter!)

What books I should be reading about counterfeiting or intellectual property law?

Blogs worth looking at?

Places where I can meet/greet counterfeiters and learn the business?

Places where a layman interested in IP law could learn about careers?

Other ways to use IP law in a career environment?

Web sites for jobs in counterfeiting?
posted by parmanparman to Grab Bag (13 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

For the record, that is a site with lots of news and information about counterfeit bags and clothes and shoes and things like that. They tend to disapprove of counterfeiting.
posted by thirteenkiller at 7:05 AM on May 22, 2008

I don't see why any significant amount of counterfeiting would originate in developed nations, where A) costs are much higher and B) you're a billion times more likely to be sued or prosecuted. But I could be wrong.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:06 AM on May 22, 2008

Response by poster: I'm just trying to cover all my bases, folks.
posted by parmanparman at 7:30 AM on May 22, 2008

While I don't have any specific resources, here are a few directions I think you might want to go in:

- Why are certain brands, like Louis Vuitton, so popular? What determines brand popularity? Is there a threshold of popularity something must reach before it becomes profitable to counterfeit it?

- What are the reasons why less-developed countries are either unable to, or unlikely to, crack down on the practice? Is giving people access to societally-perceived-to-be-genuine-while-not-actually-being-the-real-thing goods the same as giving them access to the money and resources they'd need to actually buy the real thing?

- What are some examples of developing-world brands being counterfeited in the developed world market? And how big are we talking here? Is there a difference between a fake Rolex purchased in a street market and a "greenwashed" eco-resort?

- What sorts of effects do exact/near-exact copies which don't differ at all/significantly in quality have on both consumers and companies? If I buy a $1 VCD of a movie, and watching it gives me essentially the same experience as buying the $20 DVD, how have my perceptions of "acceptable" prices to pay for things changed?

- What's your definition of intellectual property? Do companies and individuals have the right to hold onto an idea forever, even to the detriment of the "greater good"? Does it matter, for example, if super-expensive AIDS drugs are being "counterfeited" by "legitimate" agents, like the health ministry of a poorer country?

- Does "counterfeit shopping tourism" exist? That is, do people explicitly hunt for a known counterfeit item while abroad? Is there an expectation that everyone who goes to Thailand will come back with a "Ferragamo" purse - indeed, that they'd be stupid not to do so? Who holds these views, and how do they influence the market? And how do people advertise that they bought their "Ferragamo" purse in Thailand? On the sly, or out in the open?
posted by mdonley at 7:55 AM on May 22, 2008 [2 favorites]

The Federalist Society (which you can join for about 40 bucks or much less, about 5 last time I checked if you're a student). Has an intellectual law practice group which sponsors lectures and such (mostly in NYC and DC, but often streamed over the internet), publishes journals that include articles on IP law, and has an annual conference where the practice groups have sessions.

IANAL, but I have belonged off and on to the Federalist Society.
posted by Jahaza at 7:56 AM on May 22, 2008

A good friend of mine writes a well-regarded blog on intellectual property law in the new "green" economy. Not sure if that's too focused for you, but there it is. Scroll down to see his long list of IP-related blogs.
posted by Dr. Wu at 9:02 AM on May 22, 2008

It would be fitting to start your career with a fake law degree.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:24 AM on May 22, 2008 [4 favorites]

I'm uncertain if you want to actually counterfeit or FIGHT counterfeiting.
Please clarify.
posted by Dizzy at 10:48 AM on May 22, 2008

Response by poster: I'm uncertain if you want to actually counterfeit or FIGHT counterfeiting.
Please clarify.

I want to obviously learn about Intellectual Property law and how it related to patent and copyright infringement. But, I am also fascinated by counterfeiting and know there are other careers in which knowing about it is useful, such as in law enforcement, supply chain management, manufacturing, and so forth. So, I am looking for ways to get more-than-introductory information in careers related to the intellectual property.
posted by parmanparman at 11:27 AM on May 22, 2008

Does legal "counterfeiting" hold no interest to you? (such as producing replicas indistinguishable from the originals, when IP rights have lapsed or don't apply) Or is it more about the legal stuff? Or is it that the products you're interested in are pretty much always under valid IP rights?
posted by -harlequin- at 2:32 PM on May 22, 2008

-Learn Mandarin and Spanish. Since a vast majority of counterfeit goods originate in East Asia and Central/South America, being fluent in these languages will help enormously in marketing yourself to potential employers.
-As a form of preliminary self-training, become a fashion snob. Go to Nordstrom, Saks, and all the other high-end, pricey stores. Become very familiar with every single, minute detail of a Louis Vuitton handbag (i.e., the size and shape of the zipper, the stitching, EVERYTHING). Then find the fake version, and see how it differs. Repeat for Burberry, Coach, and every other luxury brand.
-Here is a website from the US Patent & Trademark Office that might provide some helpful info.
-Here is the SFPD web page on fraud investigations. Rather sparse, in terms of information. You could probably learn more about careers in fraud investigation by attending a local SFPD recruiting/career event.
posted by invisible ink at 7:59 PM on May 22, 2008

This blog is very popular with patent attorneys at my firm (I'm a patent prosecution paralegal, btw). On the surface, it might not appear to be that useful to what you're asking, but I'm sure if you browse through his network of links, it will provide plenty food for thought. Feel free to Mefimail me with any questions.
posted by invisible ink at 8:07 PM on May 22, 2008

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