HSM IP educates students on the dangers of counterfeit products

HSM IP's Gabriel Morla and Corey Neysmith speak to students of the Cayman Islands Further Education Centre about the importance of trade marks.

Corey Neysmith and Gabriel Morla of HSM IP Ltd. presented a consumer awareness program about the importance of trade marks, intellectual property and the dangers of counterfeit products to over 40 students at the Cayman Islands Further Education Centre (CIFEC) on Nov. 29.

The Unreal Campaign by the International Trademark Association is aimed specifically at teenagers. Mr. Neysmith, a senior IP assistant, explained the role and importance of registering a trade mark.

“A trade mark can be a word, design, service mark and can even be the shape of a building. If a company doesn’t register their distinct features, then a competitor can rightfully take ownership of their ideas and with it, their customer base,” he said.

Since August 2017, it has become possible to register a trade mark in the Cayman Islands without having to go through the United Kingdom or European Union first, following the implementation of The Trade Marks Law, 2016.

Mr. Morla, an IP Assistant and former CIFEC student, focused on counterfeiting in his presentation.

“We stressed the economic impact created when people purchase knockoffs. Counterfeits not only pose a threat to your health and safety, but they directly hurt businesses in the form of job losses and their reputation,” he said.

The students also engaged in a game of “spot a fake,” where they had to guess which of two similar looking products was not genuine and identify the reasons why one of them was fake.

Studies show that counterfeiting is rising at an alarming rate, HSM IP said in a press release. It is estimated that by 2022, the total global value of counterfeit goods could reach US$2.8 trillion, according to a 2017 impact study called The Economic Impacts of Counterfeiting and Piracy, released by Frontier Economics and commissioned by INTA and the International Chamber of Commerce’s Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy.

“It is rewarding for our team to be able to share their expertise with our local community and to bring awareness of the negative impacts caused by purchasing counterfeit products,” said HSM IP Managing Partner Huw Moses. “Consumers of all ages need to be alert to the risks of purchasing counterfeits, which may expose them not just to financial loss but physical harm.”