Businesses are calling for stricter internet controls and a better cybercrime authority to combat counterfeiting on the web.


According to research by Marks & Clerk, 97 per cent of businesses believe that counterfeiting will increase in the recession, while 80 per cent believe businesses will be at ‘much greater risk' than in previous downturns due to the phenomenal growth of the internet.


Three quarters of the respondents believe that stronger action is required to protect companies from counterfeiters, with 61 per cent claiming that the solution lies in the creation of a more powerful cybercrime authority, with stiffer penalties being imposed directly on infringers.


Pam Withers, partner at Marks & Clerk, comments: “This is the first recession in the digital era and businesses are anxious about the consequences. The success of the internet has meant that we are seeing increasingly vociferous criticism of those who play a part in counterfeiting – even those who do so unwittingly.


“Our survey proposes a more powerful cybercrime authority, which could well allay the fears of brand owners and satisfy popular online marketplaces, establishing a clearer framework to punish the real offenders.


“This would likely involve a crime force ready to take action once brand owners have identified counterfeit goods being offered online – although this would require brand owners to become much more active in identifying fakes in the first place.”