Fight against Fakes


By Naing Oo (DOCA)

Watching a movie is such an experience that gives more pleasure when one tunes into the most hilarious comedy presentation.
The storyline was based on the hilarious love affair of a poor guy, being left behind by his sweetheart in marrying to a high roller at the arrangement of the parents. On the eve of tying the knot, the heartbroken boy poured his heart out by saying “You give love a bad name” and accused the girl with words filled with “fake” synonyms.
Hitting hard, the boy spelled out – – – “fake love”, “fake deep affection”, “fake fondness”, “fake tenderness”, “fake attachment”, “fake devotion”, “fake endearment”, “fake tears”, and “fake so on”.
In fact, the movie was an ordinary comedy entertainment. However, it highlighted that “true love” has been turned into “love in disguise” by bad guys and terrible characters.
Love is the only force that moves creation. Love is pure and true or else it is disguised as something else.

Lying is bad
Last three years ago, I met a close friend who had an alcoholic problem. The unfortunate fact is that the compulsive drinking of alcohol leads to psychological and physical dependence or addiction.
He told me in arunken mood, “As I loved to drink, I am usually smelly. At the time when I offered morning meal to members of Sangha in front of my home, the monk advised me to stop drinking alcohol. I said I would stop, but I lied. In disguise words, I deliberately told the monk – – [If I go on drinking booze, I put a curse on my own soul to be in addiction mood]. The monk was quite satisfied with my fake promise.”
My friend had lied to a monk, with an arrogant and puffed-up tone, which I was not happy to listen to.
Last month, he died of liver problem due to drinking. Alcohol-related liver disease (ARLD) is caused by damage to the liver from years of excessive drinking. Lying is too bad.
When I was young, I have had seen a movie entitled “Cho Ta Kuu Lay and Gon Yay Ma Tu” (Destitute and Up-scale Environment). I still remember all the woes and distress of Cho Ta Kuu Lay.
The movie depicted the sorrow and sadness of Cho Ta Kuu Lay, who wholeheartedly acted the distressing, upsetting, disturbing, heart-rending, sad, tragic, painful, and harrowing plots in the movie.
The sad movie made me cry – – – silently.
At this juncture, I would like to recount my old mentor, who retired twenty years ago. He is a man of moderate drinking. On one occasion, I went to his home and complimented three alcohol bottles of genuine and original “Rum”. The liquors are packed and sold in registered embossed glass bottles.
After two months, I visited his home again, where my old mentor blamed me that my gifts of bottles were “bogus”. He showed me some empty bottles. When I checked the empty bottles, they were not embossed glass bottles. They were fraud bottles.
The reality was that the alcohol that my mentor consumed was sham, not genuine. When a person accepts and takes the “fake” as the “genuine”, then he mistakenly considered the “authentic” as “bogus”.

Concerning the whole world
Authentic “Shwe Wah Soap” was popular and favorite in our country in the past. It was commercially successful, and, therefore, bogus “Shwe Ngar Soap” and fake “Shwe Par Soap” popped up in the market. The forged soaps were sold at the same price as the genuine soaps.
Nowadays, fake goods are a real problem on our planet.
Fake beauty products have destroyed the beauties.
Bogus medicines have killed the patients.
Spurious edible oils have damaged the health.
Phony lubricants have spoiled the machines.
Sham cements have destroyed the buildings.
Counterfeited foodstuffs have created chronic diseases.
False fertilizers, disinfectants, and insecticides made the agricultural produce into spoiled condition.
On the upbeat shadowy segment are the bad guys in the world of fake manufacturers.
Researchers pointed out that the bogus markets are rampant in the developing countries where low-income earners and poor population lived.
Despite the fact the people knew about the sham products, they buy the goods on the basic grounds that they are cheap, and balancing their actual low income. Therefore, the bogus industry is making a lot of money. It has become a threat to normal economy.
Unhealthy economy is called “Second Pho Sein”, in the local term of illegal trade manufacturing the bogus products. It was because, the original Pho Sein was an influential 20th-century traditional actor, singer, and dancer, who has been credited with innovating and modernizing Burmese performance arts, in dance, song, costumes, and stagecraft.
Grey area economy is operating fast and making a lot of cash, hitting hard to normal and conventional legal trade and commercial sector. Fake goods issue has become an enormous problem and challenge to many countries on this planet.
Counterfeit and pirated goods have become an unlawful trade.
Illicit trade in fake goods is a major challenge in an innovation-driven global economy. World Trade Organization has been formulating effective solutions to combat and deter this scourge. The database on customs seizures was provided by the World Customs Organization.
Unwarranted trade on counterfeit and pirated goods could be categorized into four sectors.
First and foremost is making counterfeit goods and selling. The second sector is making counterfeit labels and selling. Coming next is making similar or indistinguishable labels and selling. Last category is parallel use of label through competition and selling.
Some countries in this world are rushing ahead in the legislation to curb the trade on counterfeit goods. Myanmar has already equipped with enacted laws in curbing and fighting fake goods problems.
Enactment of some laws even dated back before the nation regained independence. They had become into force as it necessitated in applying in the country. In this connection, some laws could be referred as the Penal Code; the Custom Law; the National Food Law; the Pesticide Law; The National Drugs Law; the Central Bank Law; the Consumer Protection Law, and so on.
Counterfeit and fake goods issues have been taken up into the fold to fight in accordance with the existing laws.

Fading trends,
Due to the raging and overwhelming entry of bogus goods and products, the consumers are suffering such as that of loss of lives, that of inflicting from harmful toxic, and that of falling into chronic diseases.
Time is ripe to curbing the scourge and cleaning out the counterfeit and fake products from the consumer’s markets. The hard- headed traders in the counterfeit and fake item market are to be taken legal actions according to existing laws. The government departments must come together in cooperation in the campaign to eliminate the dishonest traders.
The labels of popular and famous brands in the market are being imitated and sell in the illegal trade circle.
Last five years ago, I was inside a private store and saw three bottles of black label whiskeys in a showcase. The bottles are identical in one liters capacity, but the tags showing the price were different.
When asked the salesgirl, I was informed that MMK 11,000 price tag bottle was bogus whiskey; MMK 15,000 price card bottle was half genuine and half sham; and that MMK 21,000 in pricey marker was the genuine whiskey.
Such illicit sale of alcohol is punishable of one-year imprisonment and the goods were to be confiscated under the Penal Code article (486). Whether the store owner knew the stipulation or otherwise was unclear. Perhaps, they are doing illegal business for grabbing huge profits from sham goods. If and when the fake items were being imported from abroad, the wrongdoer is liable to be fined with cash for three times of the value and the goods be confiscated under article (167) of Customs Law.
The merchandise with fake labels is indeed not on a par in quality compared to original items, and therefore, they are sold out with much cheaper price. Since the items are cheap in price tags, the low-income earners prefer in buying them. They are not afraid of being inflicted with health hazards.
In this connection with the bogus goods, the genuine manufacturers and legitimate business people have embraced the damage and defeat, including hard-earned cash and reputation.
If this bogus and counterfeit production is pursued by most businessmen, then the whole sphere of commerce would be rotten and likely to suffer complete ruin and destruction.
According to the classic tale, one cold night, a camel asks his master if he can put his head in the tent for warmth. “By all means and welcome,” said the man; and the camel stretches his head into the tent. Soon after, the camel inquires if he may also bring his neck and front legs inside. Again, the master agrees.
Then the genuine manufacturing industry would be gone.
This scenario must be protected in time.
Trademark counterfeiting refers to when an established trademark is placed on a product or service that is not one of the legitimate goods offered by the trademark owner.

Protection by the Law
Trademark counterfeiting could be ended up with prosecution through the Penal Law or Civil Law. However, the prosecution could be carried out only on a similar line of the identical business. For example, Maw Maw Sann Mandalay Pudding and Maw Maw Sann Hotel are the same in name, but the nature of trade is quite different. Therefore, legal prosecution could not be applied. In the business circle, the trade labels are to be registered, so that any bogus or counterfeit label that sneaks into the market would be taken legal action.
With regards to the use of same popular trade label among the family members or offspring, it does not come under the infringement clause as the case could be mutually negotiated among the concerned parties. Under existing laws, the use of a competitor’s trademark in accurate and non-deceptive comparative advertising is legal and does not constitute trademark infringement.
A point to take notice is that the trade label could be handed down from one to another similar to property in the form of inheritance and legacy.
The counterfeiters usually target the most popular brands and well-liked labels as they could fetch profit in a short period. That is why fake things are abundant such as counterfeit bank notes; bogus consumer goods; and fake household items.
The fake and counterfeit markets are growing due to various reasons such as that the prices are cheap; that the methods of production are sophisticated; that the consumers are lack in general knowledge; and that the individual income is low.
It is difficult to differentiate between the fake goods and the genuine items. That is why the names of fake goods are being sought from organizations such as the CID and other relevant government organizations.

Must be honest
With a view to making a balanced development in the commercial sphere, the government has made some concession connected with the rules, regulations and laws. This relaxation must never be misused by the counterfeiters at the price of consumers.
Despite the success for the advantage and benefits of the consumers via the application of the Consumer Protection Law (2019), under the supervision of the Ministry of Commerce, some drawbacks are encountered as follows.
(a) Different languages existed.
(b) Lack of awareness and knowledge.
(c) Need of understanding on the part of consumers.
(d) Low income of each worker.
(e) Shortage of expertise and resources to check the quality.
(f) Weakness in standardization of good.
(g) Need to apply good practice in production.
(h)Not enough laboratories.
(i) Weakness in tracing production and distribution.
(j) Fault of commercial ethics on the part of business people.
(k) Less in responsibility and accountability on the part of business people.
(l) Too much advertisement on goods and services.
(m)Existence of bribery and corruption.
(n)Need to understand the CPL by the producers and the consumers.
(o) Existence of different stipulation of rules among departments.
(p) Lack of cooperation among the departments.
(q) Inadequate number of aid assistance equipments.
(r) Need more participation of consumers in the consumer protection programs.
(s) Lack of people’s participation in the campaign.
At a time when these weaknesses have been fixed and mended, the problems of counterfeit and fake good would be solved.
In conclusion, I would like to urge to all concern in the commercial sphere not to produce and trade counterfeit, fake and sham goods in consideration of the (54) million populations of consumers in the country.
Ethics concern an individual’s moral judgments about right and wrong. Ethical behavior and corporate social responsibility can bring significant benefits to a business. For example, they may: attract customers to the firm’s products, thereby boosting sales and profits.
Therefore, genuine and authentic items with the international standards are to be produced, imported and trade for the benefit of the good of the people in the country. Translated by UMT (Ahlon)

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