In an article in Cosmetics Business, Waterfront associate Maria-Elena Cacace explains that investigations into counterfeit cosmetics have revealed that they can contain harmful carcinogens, such as toxic heavy metals like lead and mercury, chemicals including arsenic, beryllium and cadmium, and even human and animal excrement.

She emphasises that exposure to toxic ingredients can result in skin rashes, chemical burns and even organ damage, as well as harm to the nervous, immune and digestive systems and eyes.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has said that the international trade in counterfeit goods and pirated products amounts to one fortieth of world trade. In the article, Maria-Elena refers to the findings of the UK Intellectual Property Office “IP Counter-Infringement Strategy 2022 to 2027’’, which reported that counterfeiting had grown to be the second largest source of criminal income worldwide – second only to drugs.

She adds that until recently there has not been a huge demand for criminal sanctions to protect intellectual property rights. But the last 20 years have seen many recognising the need for heavier criminal penalties, due partly to the rise of e-commerce.

Maria-Elena also outlines the types of offence that relate to counterfeiting and the approach that needs to be taken by those who fall victim to it.

You can read the full article by visiting this link. (Subscription required)