Counterfeit goods in the spotlight

Sophie Davies leads a presentation on counterfeit goods to Clifton Hunter students.

Counterfeit goods proved to be a hot topic at a recent presentation to Clifton Hunter High School students.

Sophie Davies, an attorney at the HSM law firm, along with the firm’s head paralegal, Natasha Whitelocke, spoke to approximately 170 Year 9 students on June 27 as part of the International Trademark Association’s Unreal Campaign.

The aim is to educate teens about the value of trademarks and the negative effects of counterfeiting.

“With a new and modernized copyright law coming into effect in the Cayman Islands on June 30 and an updated Trade Marks Law on the horizon, this was the perfect opportunity to educate, empower and encourage young adults in the local community about counterfeit goods, in order to equip them to make smarter purchasing decisions,” said Ms. Davies, who specializes in intellectual property law.

The high school students watched an Unreal Campaign video made by a group of American students, and then heard a talk by Ms. Davies on trademarks, their purpose and value to businesses and consumers.

She cited examples of famous international brands, such as the Shell logo, as well as those of Kirk’s, Foster’s and Hurley’s supermarkets.

Ms. Whitelocke followed with an introduction to counterfeiting, explaining how it affects the consumer as well as the local community. She highlighted some of the key issues and things to look out for when making purchasing decisions.

“We brought along an example of a counterfeit Louis Vuitton bag and compared it to an image of an authentic Louis Vuitton bag, which the students found very eye-opening,” said Ms. Davies.

“The students became really engaged and quite shocked when they learned of the differences between authentic goods and lower quality copy-cat items,” she said. “They got particularly excited about the fake Beats by Dr. Dre headphones sold online and the fake Timberland boots.”

After the presentation, students said they had learned something new and would think twice about the potential issues before buying counterfeit goods.