At the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) Annual Symposium in Brighton yesterday, the National Markets Group for IP Protection celebrated the 10th anniversary of its Real Deal Campaign for Fake-Free Markets, making it one of the longest-running IP protection awareness campaigns in the UK.
The Real Deal was officially launched at the CTSI national conference in 2009, so it is appropriate to mark the campaign’s 10-year milestone at the same annual gathering of trading standards officers from across the country.
The Real Deal unites local authority trading standards services, the operators of markets, car boot fairs and selling groups, copyright and trademark owners and their representatives in a common cause to reduce the sale of IP infringing products.
Since its launch, operators of around 500 markets across the UK have made a commitment to fake-free trading by signing the voluntary Real Deal Charter with their local trading standards service. Introducing the Real Deal Charter and displaying the logo helps a market to give reassurance to shoppers that it is a safe place to buy and sell. It also sends a strong ‘keep out’ message to any would-be traders in counterfeits who have no scruples about ripping off consumers, selling unsafe products or damaging local businesses.
The Real Deal model of partnership working has proved so successful that in 2018 it was extended into the digital arena with a specific programme, developed with the National Trading Standards eCrime Team, to support trading standards services in tackling the trade in fakes on social media buy-sell groups.
Graham Mogg, ACG Intelligence Coordinator and Chair of the National Markets Group for IP Protection, commented: “Counterfeit products bring with them a whole host of problems: consumers are ripped off; products are untested and potentially unsafe; legitimate businesses lose sales; revenue is lost from the economy to the black market; and often the trade in fakes is linked to organised crime. Most people involved in market shopping or trading would be horrified to think that they may, unwittingly, be funding organised crime.
“The success of the Real Deal programme is that it offers help to market organisers in the form of practical advice and procedures to prevent illicit traders from infiltrating a market space. Most importantly, it facilitates closer working relationships between markets and their local trading standards services so that a common goal of fake-free market trading is achieved. We are delighted to be celebrating ten successful years of partnership with CTSI and we look forward to many more years supporting trading standards services across the UK in their valuable work of protecting consumers and legitimate businesses from the harm caused by the trade in fakes.”
Leon Livermore, Chief Executive of CTSI said: “The range of dangers associated with fake goods can have serious impacts on consumers, businesses and the overall economy. Initiatives like Real Deal foster a coordinated approach between trading standards, marketplaces and trademark owners that is leading the way for on-the-ground IP protection.
“I congratulate the National Markets Group on their highly successful 10-year campaign and thank them for their continued work to protect consumers.”
Patricia Lennon, National Coordinator of the Real Deal, acknowledged the support of the campaign’s sponsors and partners, saying: “We are incredibly grateful to our industry sponsors, made up of IP rights owners and their representatives, whose longstanding support has enabled this campaign to grow year-on-year over the last decade. Their financial backing, and the endorsement of our partner organisations, such as CTSI, IPO, NABMA and NMTF, cannot be over-estimated. It has ensured this campaign’s longevity and amplified the message that fake-free markets protect shoppers, businesses and local communities.”