Presence of counterfeit products in the market is on the rise but there are few complaints from affected companies and consumers, according to law enforcement officials.

There are stringent laws to prevent counterfeiting but there is hardly any complaint, said Thamarai Kannan, Inspector General of Police, Crime (CID), which is the nodal agency dealing with counterfeit currency and also has an IP Rights Enforcement Cell.

At a FICCI seminar on ‘Combating Counterfeiting and Smuggling: An Imperative to accelerate Economic Development’, Kannan said there are very few cases related to counterfeiting. In IP Rights Enforcement Cell, in a year, the number of complaints is more than double digit. “I urge the industry to come together with a solution to better enforce what is already there,” he said.

R Srinivasa Naik, Commissioner of Customs, Chennai Customs Zone, said the department had come across issues on imported counterfeit products such as Nike, Puma, Reebok, Levis, Gillette, Fossil and Tissot.

However, unless the rights holders in India register with Customs department and a particular import consignment coming is not their brand, , “we cannot act on them.” If the document says that it comes from a manufacturer and there is an importer, “we have no reason to suspect that consignment,” he said.

As per FICCI Cascade report, the maximum revenue loss to exchequer on account of illicit trade was attributed to tobacco products followed by mobile phones and alcoholic beverages. The study establishes a relationship between high taxes and illicit products. A significant reason being that high tariff create opportunities for those involved in illicit markets to step in and supply ‘reduced’ versions of original product at lower price.

Last month, Indonesian cigarettes worth ₹9 crore was seized in Chennai from a port, says a Ficci release. According to Ficci’s recent report - Illicit Trade: Fuelling Terror Financing and Organised Crime, the total employment losses globally due to counterfeit and piracy is likely to double to nearly 5.4 million by 2020 from about 2.6 million in 2013.