New Use for Knock-Offs: Helping Haiti


Brandchannel has reported extensively about counterfeit or knock-off products. This month alone, more than $240 million worth of fake goods were confiscated in the U.S., including more than $18 million worth of faux designer sunglasses.

This is a chronic problem that only seems to get worse in a global economy, especially for designer and luxury brands. Counterfeit goods made to look like the real thing are sold for a fraction of the price of the originals, creating a huge black market and devaluing brands.

So we have to applaud the state of New York for a creative solution. Instead of destroying $10 million worth of confiscated clothing and shoes with fake labels, the district attorney’s office in Brooklyn, New York came up with a novel idea: Send the goods to Haiti.[more]

“Permission was obtained from manufacturers, including Nike, Timberland, Antik Denim Jeans, Black Label and Christian Audigier, to allow the knockoffs to be donated to charity,” Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes tells CNN affiliate WPIX. The only stipulation is that all brand identifiers (labels and logos) will be removed.

Seven truckloads of goods seized by New York police were to be destroyed, but instead they’ll be sent to victims of the January earthquake in Haiti, where more than one million people are still homeless.

As for making sure they don’t end up on the black market, the American relief organization World Vision will arrange for delivery of the donated items to those in need.

It turns out that illegal counterfeiters of designer goods are unwittingly doing some good in the world.