“Between 80% and 90% of Counterfeits in Latin America Come from Overseas”

Paraguay’s Municipal Market Number 4, located in the Pettirossi neighborhood, is one of the places where the most counterfeit products are sold in the country, with sports shoes being the biggest sellers.

Yet, as explained by Carmen de Cattoni, Criminal Prosecutor of Intellectual Property of Paraguay, in an interview with Brands+, between 80% and 90% of the fake products come from overseas, mainly from Asia, and only a small percentage of them are manufactured in Latin American countries.

Has there been any legal progress in the battle against counterfeit products? The important thing I’d like to highlight about what we are doing here in Paraguay, specifically in Asunción, is that even if the number of products we seize during the raids isn’t significant, we consider it to be very important for the infringing person be prosecuted, so that they are in some way subject to a process, while encouraging themselves and others to stop.

When talking about the areas affected, there’s always a social issue. Those people who get their products taken away claim that they are part of their informal jobs, which obviously doesn’t justify their actions.

Now, the affected areas, from the point of view of the international brands, are all of them. We must keep in mind that unfortunately what people often don’t understand is that counterfeit products are not only harmful to the original brand, but also to many other smaller companies who are also affected by the process.

Which counterfeit product is sold the most in Paraguay? One of the biggest sellers in Paraguay when it comes to fake products are sports shoes, especially among younger buyers. A few years ago, the most common thing were photocopies of books and burnt records, which doesn’t happen anymore due to the internet. Right now we are facing a new way of selling products which is through Instagram, where sellers are smart enough to not reveal any address, but prefer to deliver the products with a phone number, as to avoid any potential raids.

How does the Prosecutor’s Office of Paraguay work? It is important to highlight that in Paraguay we are fighting intensively, especially in Asunción, where we have carried out raids in places where previously it was not possible, such as the Municipal Market 4 itself and in other surrounding areas. It also includes those galleries where cell phones that have been stolen by bike thieves were being adulterated and sold, a more serious issue.

We are working in a unified way with several institutions such as the National Police, which is the Economic Crime Police, and the National Intellectual Property Directorate of Paraguay (Dinapi), and this further strengthens all the work of the public ministry.

The opinions expressed in Brands+ Intelectual Property Newsare the sole responsibility of their authors and may not coincide with those of the media.