Trying to tell real products from the knockoffs could be a fun game for some, but it also represents billions of dollars in illegal trade every year.

 

A table of real goods and their illegal counterparts was laid out yesterday at the Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network workshop at the Marriott Hotel in Halifax. Educating people on how to tell the difference – low-quality printing, spelling mistakes on packaging – is a big part of what the group does.

 

“Awareness is probably the key to everything,” said CACN chair Brian Isaac. “There’s been an explosion in the last 10 or so years. The types of products that were being counterfeited changed, so it went from the typical watches and hats to really anything and everything.”

 

Combined with a more globalized trade market, counterfeiting has been on the rise and harder to stop, Isaac said. But one attempt is the CACN’s 2009 Reality Tour, a cross-Canada initiative to teach people to look out for fake goods.

The group is made up of rights holders, law firms, investigation firms and others with a stake in fighting counterfeiting. They’re also involved in lobbying Ottawa to make changes to copyright and border control laws, which they say are out of date and inadequate.