Its funny you mention Viagra. I work for a large technology company and two years ago, the IP lawyers in my group hosted a symposium with the IP lawyers at Pfizer, Burberry, a software company whose name escapes me and a representative from an Internet watchdog group. They spoke about the the infringements they are concerned about.
For Pfizer, they have huge issues preventing counterfeiters, ESP., in other countries, from making sugar pills that copy the look of their pills and selling them on the Internet. More and more sites keep on springing up and it's getting harder to police. Some legitimate pharmacists and hospitals have been duped. People are dying as a result.
For Burberry, they spoke about that, even 10 years ago, if you went into NYC Chinatown, you could buy a fake Burberry or Gucci bag for $30. And it looked fake. They did not police this aggressively because everyone knew it was a fake and the person buying it would not likely spend $500+ on a bag, so it was not like they were losing customers. Now, almost weekly a new site springs up that looks like its affiliated with a luxury brand and it sells fake bags that look like the real thing. The buyer probably pays $200-500 for the bag, thinking its real but at a discount. They lose out and Burberry does too because they buyer might have bought a real bag from them.
The software company talked about thieves stealing code, so unlike with Burberry and Pfizer, the fake can be as good as the original.
The Internet watch group member spoke about how these counterfeiters profits went to fund terrorist activities, human trafficking etc.
I was nearly tempted to ask the Burberry atty how much time they spend policing cakers on the Internet, but did not want to get laughed out the room. I know for my company - the answer is zero as we are too busy dodging patent trolls looking for multi-million payouts as well as working with our business customers to come up with ways to stop counterfeit trafficking. .
Incidentally, my company has a highly recognizable brand and this Tuesday I made a shower cake for a colleague using the brand likeness, and 30 attorneys in our law dept saw said cake and eat said cake and no one asked me if I checked with our IP group for permission. BTW, our IP law dept has won multiple legal accolades and awards, and is on the top of their game, and loved the cake.
Take this story as you will.
Edited by VanillaSky - 10/4/13 at 4:41am