Versace CEO Says Counterfeits Are Down

Gian Giacomo Ferraris, the CEO of Versace, was on hand at the Luxury Law Summit in London this week, where he spoke about the status of the Italian design house's anti-counterfeiting efforts. Versace's iconic prints, which were popularized by the late founder, Gianni Versace, have served as the basis for an extensive amount of copying. In fact, not terribly long ago, the design house came out victorious against a Philippine/Australian-based eBay counterfeit operation, after fighting the defendants for over four years in court. According to Ferraris, who did stints at Jil Sander and Kering (when it was still the Gucci Group) before his appointment at Versace, the number of counterfeit Versace products seized by border agencies has fallen significantly over the past several years.

Ferraris cited engagement with customers online and a stricter approach to IP protection as having led to the significant reduction in counterfeits. He says more than 300,000 counterfeit Versace goods were seized in 2012, and in 2013, this number was down to 132,000. Not only is the Versace legal team "working with local authorities around the world [including China, where the presence of counterfeits is especially high]," but it is also implementing measures to cope with the immense challenges posed by counterfeiting online.

Ferraris said that fighting the online said of counterfeits is especially challenging, as "online anyone can hide their identity and it can be difficult to detect what is real and fake. In recent years we have devised a suit of techniques designed to protect our customers from the dangers of buying fake products." Such measures include a web-monitoring service that allows customers to go to the Versace website and enter a product code on an item which then instantly tells them if it is real or fake."