The Issue of Counterfeit Luxury Items in the Land of Fashion

The counterfeit luxury market has always been a huge issue on the Italian peninsula, with fake products finding their way onto the shelves of small market stands as well as official retailers. It is impossible to walk down a popular road in the centres of Rome, Milan or Naples without being greeted by rows upon rows of street vendors selling branded accessories for a fraction of the original’s price.

Reaching the shores of this Mediterranean country from all over the world, these products end up costing legitimate companies millions of Euros, as well as having a devastating economic effect on the countries where said widespread counterfeiting is present; as the “Confederazione Generale Italiana delle Imprese” (General Confederation of Italian Enterprises, also known as Confcommercio) stated in an article, the sale of counterfeit goods cost Italian companies "Up to 3.3 billion Euros from 2008 to 2012, with the total value of counterfeit goods sold being of approximately 6.5 billion Euros".

The scope of counterfeiting

A few examples of counterfeiting in Italy can be used to show the size of this problem, where just in the area surrounding Milan thousands of products have been found and confiscated by the local police force. The depth of the counterfeiting operations in this particular region of the world have reached extraordinary levels, where local unlicensed retailers no longer limit themselves to importing fake products, but also go as far as opening local sweatshops which produce counterfeit products of high-quality brands, sometimes making it hard to distinguish said products from the original ones.

The most recent example of such this practice being shut down is one in the town of Gallarate, where such a factory had been opened to try to cash in on the Christmas period, a period of time where companies need to perform at the very top of their capabilities. With the rise in demand for luxury goods seen in the past few years (See Graph 2) these cases are sure to increase in number and size.

Revenues of top luxury groups 2008-2010

Statistics released by financial authorities show that the regions from which the vast majority of counterfeit products arrive are very diverse which means that, even if this kind of production is dominated by Chinese enterprises (See Graph 3), ignoring other countries would mean not intervening on over 30% of all counterfeit products, effectively foregoing 1/3 of the hypothetical 3.3 billion Euros stated by the Confcommercio.

Country of origin of counterfeit goods in Italy

Fighting counterfeit products

This issue has been recently tackled by the local government through the enforcement of laws already present and attempting to dissuade potential buyers through the use of warnings and fines, but there is only so much said government can do, as these measures have only partially achieved their intentions, as counterfeiters keep finding ways to flood the streets of Italy with inferior copies of otherwise exceptional products.

To actively defend itself, a company marred by this issue requires the aid of experts that can search, find and stop those enterprises that supply and re-sell fake goods, damaging the revenues and reputation of companies that drive innovation and produce items of great quality. A partnership with a brand protection provider would allow large companies to protect themselves without having to waste time and resources building with an in-house team; leaving them with all the time they need to focus on what they do best: driving innovation forwards.


Working with some of the major luxury brands, NetNames’ unique Imageflare software allows an unmatched level of logo and trademark recognition, finding any kind of infringement and acting accordingly. NetNames knows that valuing the customer and the integrity of their brand is central to a healthy relationship between top-level companies and their brand-protection provider, as no two enterprises are the same and each one requires the attention of a skilled and approachable account manager to tackle any issue that may arise.

NetNames takes pride in always being one step ahead, having over 30 different languages spoken in-house and knowing the enterprises they work with inside out; helping them fight the threats of counterfeiting and trademark infringement one step at a time.

By Simone Sfragano.