From knock-off “Beats by Dre” headphones to fake Louis Vuitton bags, students at John Gray High School were given a lesson this week in the dangers of buying counterfeit goods.
HSM intellectual property attorney Sophie Davies and head paralegal Natasha Whitelocke visited the school Monday to talk to Year 11 students about Cayman’s new trademark laws and the international threat posed by fake goods.
The students were told that looking for a cheap deal now could have consequences in the long term.
During the school assembly, many of the students acknowledged they had bought counterfeit goods locally, including sneakers, bags and Android phones.
Head girl Allison Tatum told the Cayman Compass after the assembly, “The presentation was very helpful. It educated us more on trademarks and counterfeiting. I’ve seen them (counterfeit goods) around and it is something I thought about, but now I won’t buy them because I know the effects it can have.”
The legal experts discussed the importance of trademarks internationally and highlighted the links between established trademark brands and quality control.
Ms. Whitelocke said there is no protection for consumers who buy fake phones that break down or bags that fall apart.
Students were also shown how to identify counterfeit goods.
Ms. Whitelocke said she was surprised by how many of the students seemed to know about counterfeit goods and acknowledged having bought them locally. She said it is important to get the message out to teenagers who are among the most brand conscious consumers.
“Hopefully their eyes have been opened,” she said.
“We want them to make better spending decisions as to what to do with their money. Going forward they can pay attention to what is out there on the shelves and hopefully they will not be tempted to open their own business and bring in goods to make a quick buck.”
Anthony Miguel Diaz, head boy at the school, said he had seen Air Jordan shoes and Android phones for sale in Cayman that he believed to be counterfeit.
He said he believed people were tempted by the lower prices.
“When you go to buy something and you see a cheaper price, you think that is a great deal there and then, but in the long run, things aren’t going to pay off. When they break down, you end up paying more.”
The presentation is part of the International Trademark Association’s Unreal Campaign to educate teenagers about the importance of trademarks, intellectual property and the dangers of counterfeit products.
HSM Managing Partner Huw Moses said, “We are pleased to present INTA’s Unreal campaign to JGHS students in the Cayman Islands. We appreciate the opportunity to educate, empower and encourage young adults in the local community about the importance of trademarks and anti-counterfeiting in order to equip them to make smarter purchasing decisions.”