Product piracy

A danger for your company too!

The most important facts in brief

  • The problem extends to all conceivable products.
  • 79 percent of German companies fall victim to product counterfeiting every year. [1]
  • This not only results in economic damage for your company, it also leads to permanent damage to your image.
  • Since counterfeit products have a reduced quality, in the worst case even a health risk for the customer of your brand results.
  • Despite all their efforts, the authorities can only check 5% of imports.
  • CE and/or GS labels offer only limited protection.
  • However, maximum protection can only be created through the use of product serialisation and tracking.
  • With the Track & Trace procedure, you have the possibility to track your products in detail along the entire supply chain. Up to and including the customer.
  • This not only increases protection, it also provides a basis for additionally increasing quality management and the bond with your customers.

60 billion euros of damage per year!

The dimensions of the problem - Bigger than expected!

A well-known chronometer for only a fraction of the RRP, or the cheaply purchased designer wallet made of "genuine crocodile leather", bought at a weekly market on a holiday abroad - with such products, it doesn't take much sense to question the originality of the purchased goods.


These two products represent only a small part of all counterfeiting, which permanently weakens the local economy of the respective country. Estimates put this damage at 60 billion euros per year. [2]


The problem is illustrated by the figures of the European customs authorities. According to these, the value of seized goods in 2018 was 738 million euros. [3]


The spectrum includes every imaginable product category. From food to electronics, cosmetics to complete machines, everything is represented.


There seems to be no limit to the criminal energy of the product counterfeiters. For example, brand shops are also imitated in order to make the unsuspecting buyer believe in good faith.




Protecting the authorities - Or not?


For a better understanding of the problem, it is advisable to take a look at the press releases of the German customs authorities. The following reports are only examples of a large number of other reports. [4]

[4] Zoll online - Pressemitteilungen

  • Hamburg, 23 October 2020 - 3000 pairs of fake Lois Vuitton shoes destroyed by customs.
  • Rosenheim, 24 August 2020 - More than a tonne of counterfeit branded clothing was stopped.
  • Cologne, 17 August 2020 - Customs removes handbags and shoes worth almost 5.7 million euros from circulation.
  • Dresden, 14 August 2020 - Luxury watches worth six million euros.

Even though customs were able to seize goods with a total value of almost 225 million euros in 2019 [5]Despite the size of this figure, it must be noted that the capacities of the authority only allow for spot checks.


The expert Prof. Dr. Prof. h.c. Arndt Sinn, who holds a chair for German and European criminal law and criminal procedure at the University of Osnabrück, puts the rate at just 2-5%. [6]


In other words: 95-98% of the goods are not inspected due to lack of capacity.


[5] BMF-Monatsbericht Mai 2020 - Bilanz des deutschen Zolls 2019 (


Frighteningly well faked.

Plagiarius - The Oscar of the product counterfeiters

Every year, the best product counterfeits are awarded a prize by the registered association Plagiarius. The aim of this association is to bring the problem of counterfeit products into the public eye.


Since 1997, the best counterfeits have been awarded a prize every year - the Plagiarius. The golden nose represents "the exorbitant profits that product pirates make at the expense of innovative companies". [7]


The consequences - More far-reaching than you think!

Danger for the customer

Studies by the German Technical Inspection Agency (TÜV) show that counterfeits not only cause enormous economic damage, but can also result in health hazards.


He compared original rims with deceptively genuine-looking copies and carried out various tests on both specimens. The frightening result - due to the use of inferior materials, damage to the counterfeit rims became apparent after only a short distance of driving. [8]



Brand damage for them

Furthermore, counterfeits also pose a risk to the image of your company. The customer's trust in the brand can be permanently damaged by the inferior quality.


Another reason that speaks in favour of proof of authenticity on the part of the manufacturers.

Conventional protection not safe!

How could one protect oneself until now?

The European Union offers manufacturers of products basically two possibilities to allow customers to prove the quality of their products.


On the one hand, this includes the GS mark, the legal standards of which are laid down in the Product Safety Act (ProdSG). It is also the only legally regulated test certificate.


And secondly, the CE marking, which is mandatory for certain products. The basis for this is formed by a large number of European directives that regulate the necessity for this marking.


A product that carries a CE certificate guarantees conformity with the EU regulations that apply to the product in question. Unfortunately, product counterfeiters have also recognised the effect of such a label and simply copy it - but without their "product" ever having been tested for compliance with European standards.


Other possibilities

  • Watermarks and holograms that only become visible under a certain light.
  • Proof of first opening through the use of seals that are damaged when the packaging is opened.
  • RFID chips ("Radio frequency identification") "Transmitter-receiver systems for the automatic and contactless identification and localisation of objects."
  • However, none of these options offers sufficient protection that cannot be circumvented!

Maximum protection

Serialisation - BrandTracker

However, maximum protection can only be made possible through the use of serialisation. This technology makes it possible to ensure effective protection against grey market shifts, through advanced tracking and tracing technology.


For this purpose, we offer the "BrandTracker", which is based on the concept of the Track & Trace procedure.


Track means the exact location of the product and trace means the traceable course in the supply chain.


The use of unique serial numbers, which are used as product identifiers and printed on the products, in combination with the "BrandTracker", ensures complete traceability.


This results not only in maximum possible protection for your products, but also in potentials.



For the customer

  • Protection against counterfeit products.
  • Safety gain, as counterfeits of inferior quality cannot pose a risk to the customer.
  • The use of data matrix or QR codes enables customers to identify themselves with the help of their smartphone and a corresponding application.

For you

  • Costly court proceedings and compensation payments are eliminated because counterfeit products are not unwittingly sold.
  • Image backup.
  • Buying counterfeits that are not recognisable as such due to their level of detail can be avoided.
  • Profit losses resulting from plagiarism can be minimised.
  • Increase customer loyalty through detailed customer data that can be used for customer-specific advertising.


  • Plagiarism and counterfeiting of products have become an increasing problem in recent years. The counterfeiters are no longer limited to handbags and brand-name watches. Every imaginable product category can be found here.
  • Counterfeit products cause enormous financial damage to the economy.
  • Trust in the brand is permanently reduced by counterfeit products. In the worst case, this can even result in health risks for the customer.
  • Control bodies, such as the German customs, are not in a position to deal with the growing problem of product counterfeiting. 95-97% of imports are NOT controlled.
  • Established seals and labels (GS and CE) do not offer full protection.
  • Only serialisation enables the highest level of safety for the end customer, the trade and you as a manufacturer.
  • It offers not only protection against plagiarism, but also additional benefits for optimising quality management, or for better customer loyalty.
  • Serisoft GmbH has decades of experience in the complex field of designing and implementing serialisation and thus offers a tried and tested partner.

You want to avoid brand damage and dangers for your customers and ensure maximum counterfeit protection for your products?