The most heavily counterfeited brand in South Korea? Louis Vuitton. According to a report from the Korea Customs Service, which looked at the state of intellectual property infringement in the nation over the past 4 years, Korean officials seized more counterfeit Louis Vuitton products than those from any other brand between June 2014 to June 2018. And the frequency with which fake Louis Vuitton bags are being seized by customs officials is growing.
Over the past 4 years, the Korea Customs Service – the government agency that oversees all import clearance procedures for the country – says that it uncovered a total of 183.1 billion won ($224 million) in mostly China-made counterfeit goods bearing Louis Vuitton’s trademarks, the largest dollar among all counterfeited luxury brands. The $224 million figure is what the counterfeit Louis Vuitton products would be worth if they were authentic and sold at retail.
Between the beginning of 2018 and June, alone, Korea Customs seized a whopping 41.1 billion won worth of Louis Vuitton goods, making it so that this year’s total value of seized goods is expected to reach a five-year high, according to agency officials.
Following behind Louis Vuitton, law enforcement in Korea confiscated 106.1 billion won worth of counterfeit Rolex watches, 96.2 billion won in counterfeit Cartier jewelry, 69.8 billion won in fake Chanel garments and accessories, and 40.2 billion won in imitation Gucci goods. These same brands topped the last report that Korea Customs Service released, which tallied the dollar value of counterfeits seized between 2012 and 2016. Louis Vuitton topped that list, as well, followed by Rolex, Cartier, Chanel, Burberry, and Gucci.
As for Paris-based Louis Vuitton, in particular, which holds the title of the world’s most valuable luxury brand, the Customs report reveals that the number of seized products has steadily been on the rise. For instance, between 2015 and 2016, the total value of seized Louis Vuitton imitations grew by 33.6 billion won ($30 million).
“Making and distributing fake goods is a criminal act that violates intellectual property rights, and it is required to toughen crackdown on such illegalities,” said lawmaker Kang Byung-won of the ruling Democratic Party. He requested the data from the customs agency and released it publicly.