The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) is cracking down on the luxury counterfeit market. The number of fake goods being sold has seen a surge of 204 percent when comparing January to August of last year to this year.

Director of the intellectual property investigation division at KIPO Chung Kee-Hyun stated that the rise in demand for counterfeit products has a positive correlation with an overall increase in online shopping caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Statistics Korea, online shopping destinations have seen an increase in sales of ₩15.2 trillion KRW for the January to August period compared to the previous year. Among the categories of counterfeit items sold, bags accounted for the largest proportion, with 31.7 percent; followed by clothing, 26 percent; shoes, 18 percent; wallets, six percent; and watches, five percent. Statistics Korea notes that only a little less than three percent of all reports have led to actual investigations by the judicial police. KIPO is planning to enhance investigation measures with digital forensics and “stronger” investigative personnel. The sector will also be collaborating with trademark holders for a compensation system where buyers who are tricked into buying fake goods could be reimbursed.

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