“Knockoffs” vs “Counterfeits”

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“Knockoffs” vs “Counterfeits”

In everyday conversation that term “knockoff” is frequently misued, and what someone means to say is that a product is “counterfeit.” Do an image search on Google for “Rolex knockoff” and the entire first page is nothing but conterfeit Rolexes, NOT “knockoffs.” 

Why does this matter? Well, there’s a big difference between counterfeits and knockoffs.

Counterfeit goods aim to deceive consumers. They typically feature trademarks identical to legitimate brands, tricking buyers into believing they’re purchasing the real deal.

On the other hand, knockoffs resemble the original product but lack the genuine trademark, making consumers aware they’re purchasing a similar product, but not the exact product itself.

Both counterfeits and knockoffs pose challenges in the market. They ride on the coattails of, or even outright steal the hard-earned market awareness invested by the original brand, and cause financial loss. But counterfeiters cause even more damage by producing inferior replicas, which tarnish the reputation of the original brand. In some cases (like pharmaceuticals, or automotive/aeroplane replacement parts) counterfeits can be extremely dangerous to public health and safety.

Consider the example of Rolex watches again. A counterfeit watch bears the Rolex trademark and aims to deceive buyers, while a knockoff resembles a Rolex but lacks the trademark. Consumers knowingly opt for knockoffs due to affordability. The example in the photo below is close, though I’m sure there’s a better example of a Rolex knockoff out there somewhere.

So, promote awareness about counterfeits by being accurate in your language! If it’s a counterfeit, don’t call it a knockoff! 

“Knockoffs” vs “Counterfeits”