Filipinos are no strangers to counterfeits. We have all sorts of fakes or ‘Class A’ on full display in shopping centers across Greenhills and Divisoria. These products are cheap, and more often than not, they look a lot like the real thing at first glance. For most people, that’s all they need.
Buying counterfeits is a huge no-no, though, and that’s especially true when it comes to riding equipment. You see, with fake motorcycle gear, safety is compromised, which sort of defeats the purpose of equipping yourself with protective gear in the first place. But there are a few more important reasons why patronizing counterfeit gear should be avoided, and we’ll discuss four of them here.
Technically speaking, there are fine lines between ‘counterfeits’ and ‘knock-offs.’ But before anything else, let’s define trademarks. A trademark is any word or mark (or a combination of both) that distinguishes one’s product from that of other brands. Trademarks are counted as intellectual property under Republic Act No. 8293 (the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines) and as such, owners have negative rights.
This just means that owners can prevent anyone from using and selling products using their brands without duly given consent. This aims to protect brands as the proliferation of fake products—especially low-quality ones—tarnishes their reputations.
As for counterfeits, these directly infringe registered trademarks through their unauthorized use or replication. Knock-offs only border on trademark infringements as these are only near-identical copies sold under similar names. In simple conversations, however, these essentially mean the same thing. So for the purposes of this article, let’s just assume that’s the case. All of these are counterfeits, and here are the reasons you shouldn’t buy them.
1) It’s illegal.
Need we say more? Selling counterfeit gear, regardless of which channel is used, is illegal. It is in violation of RA No. 8293 and is punishable by law. That in and of itself is enough reason why you shouldn’t patronize counterfeits.
2) The build quality of fakes is poor.
The foam on your fake AGV helmet? Don’t expect that to last long with daily use. The lining on your knock-off Macna gloves? Give it a few months. And that’s being generous.
The reason why legit motorcycle gear cost so much is that they’re built well and built to last long. A P10,000 or even a P5,000 original jacket, for example, is quite pricey, but it’ll last way, way longer than a fake counterpart that you can get for less than half the price. The same goes for helmets, gloves, or shoes. But as we mentioned earlier, safety is the real issue here, not just durability. We’ll talk about that later.
3) Counterfeits aren’t covered by warranty.
Warranty is another point of discussion that ties together with the poor build quality. If your fake helmet gives out after just a few months from purchase, then there’s nothing you can do about it. Nobody is accountable in these situations.
In addition to warranty concerns, aftersales service coverage could potentially be another issue here. Say the visor on your counterfeit lid breaks, do you think you can get a nearby authorized shop to fix it for you? We don’t think so. Heck, even if you do try to repair it on your own, original parts might not even be compatible with your fake helmet. There’s simply no winning here.
4) Safety will always be an issue with fake motorcycle gear.
The main reason why riders buy motorcycle gear is to protect themselves—it’s not just about compliance with local laws or even to look good. Buying fake products essentially defeats that purpose.
This isn’t the same as buying a knock-off Prada bag. That probably won’t cost you your life. When you buy a fake Dainese racing suit, for example, chances are the paddings on that one are poor and won’t protect you properly in a high-speed crash. The shell on a counterfeit Shoei lid might cause you more harm than good in an accident, too.
“Invest in your safety” is a phrase we often hear in the riding community. You should know that the word “invest” here doesn’t necessarily mean riders should only stick with the most premium brands. You’d be better off buying a more affordable but original piece of equipment than buying a knock-off of a luxurious brand. At least then, you’ll be sure that the gear has gone through proper testing and that certain safety standards are met.
Now, if you’re buying your gear from resellers outside of big-ticket retailers or you’re simply buying secondhand, how can you protect yourself from accidentally purchasing a counterfeit? The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHIL) and the National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights (NCIPR) have identified five Ps that you should assess so you can be sure that whatever you’re buying is legit. This guide is especially helpful for those of you who like to buy stuff online.
5 Ps you should scrutinize to avoid buying fakes
Packages of counterfeits usually have poor print quality, grammatical or typographical errors, or improper sealing.
Of an item is being sold at a fraction of the SRP, it’s most probably a fake.
-“Often the tell-tale signs of a fake is in the product itself when the item you bought is different from the kind of product you have been used to, whether in color, shade, size, shape, smell, taste (if applicable), or quality, in general.”
- Promotional message
“Exclusive distributors and manufacturers strive to promote product items uniformly and screen promotional messages. Such practices help them avoid releasing any erroneous information on the product or raise false expectations on the benefits of the product.”
“Online trade has definitely made weeding out counterfeit items from the marketplace a daunting task for consumers and law enforcers as (1) it is hard to check products through advertising photos; (2) photos used to advertise a product may not even represent the actual items; and (3) the anonymity culture within online marketplaces makes it very difficult for consumers to seek refunds or for law enforcers to capture violating sellers, let alone knowing their identity.”
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