Frequently asked questions

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What is intellectual property?

Intellectual property (IP) is the product of a creator's mind, such as an invention, design, logo, or an original literary, musical, dramatic or artistic work, process and even breed of plant.

What is IP crime?

IP crime is committed when someone who has no right to use a particular brand, logo, design, music or creative work, for example, does so illegally. This is also known as counterfeiting.

What items are counterfeited?

Every item that carries a brand is likely to be counterfeited at some time. This not only includes designer clothing and accessories, music and film, but medicines, household items, car parts and food.

Why is IP regulation important?

IP regulations protect innovations so the rightful owner can earn income from their creation. It keeps standards high for consumers and ensures public health and safety.

Can counterfeit goods be dangerous?

Counterfeit goods are manufactured with no regard for public safety. Fake medicines, personal care products and food items, for example, may contain unknown chemicals and are often made in unsanitary conditions.

Hardware items, automotive parts, batteries and electrical goods may contain sub-standard components not produced to manufacturer's specifications. This could cause equipment failure, accidents, explosions, fires and other damage.

How do I spot a fake?

Counterfeit goods are produced cheaply to be sold cheaply. They often come in packaging that doesn't look quite right. Counterfeit goods are most likely to be sold through unconventional outlets such as markets, online and directly through individuals who are not usually associated with retail sales.

Is IP crime a big problem in Australia?

Fortunately, Australia's retail environment has not been swamped by large numbers of counterfeit goods, but the problem could gain a foothold here if we are not vigilant.

How do I report IP crime?

To report IP crime call Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000 or you local state or territory police. If you have discovered a fake product, support legitimate industry by contacting the brand owner.