A "knock-off" is
a product bearing a trademarked
name, logo, brand or other identity that
is not manufactured or sold by the
company that owns the trademark.
If you see a guy near Istanbul's Galata
Bridge with a suitcase full of
shirts bearing labels and logos such
as Lacoste or Puma,
or a pushcart with athletic shoes
bearing Adidas and Nike logos,
chances are that these are not goods
made by those manufacturers. They're knock-offs.
Making knock-offs is big business
in developing countries throughout
the world. The majority of the "Marlboro" cigarettes
sold in Turkey a few years ago were
actually knock-off cigs made in Bulgaria.
Other knock-offs abound, particularly
in the markets for apparel, perfume,
expensive watches and other high-margin
Making and selling knock-offs
is illegal, an infringement
of trademark laws in most countries,
but in many countries the law is not
A lot of knock-off products are for
sale in Turkey. Should you buy them?
They may be of bad quality, or decent
quality, and even though the law may
not be strictly enforced in Turkey,
it may be enforced in your own country.
What does this mean to you? Probably
nothing, in most cases, if you buy
a garment or two, wear it while in
Turkey, and bring it home rumpled in
But if you were to have, say, 10 "Lacoste" shirts
all nicely packaged for resale or gifts
in your suitcase, and you were to be
stopped by customs in your own country,
the shirts might be confiscated and
you might be subject to a fine or
other penalty, because it is also illegal
to import knock-off goods to most countries
(especially France, home of many of
the world's premier brands).
The companies who own the trademarks
often spearhead campaigns to get authorities
to enforce the laws. If you are caught
in such a campaign, it may be unpleasant,
and may go on some sort of computer
record, which may result in your being
searched every time you return home
from a trip abroad.
So if you buy knock-off goods, at
least be discreet about it, and think
twice about crossing a border with
them in quantity.
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