A distinct ethical struggle may be found with a company that is selling imitation or counterfeit products. These products, though clearly characterized as imitation may lend overall market confusion if they are ever resold. There are certain implications to imitation products entering the market where though originally honestly marketed and sold, may lose integrity in the black market.
Honesty may be viewed as a part of the corporate culture at Finer Bags. They are selling imitation products and as long as they are within their boundaries of intellectual property and copyright laws, they are not breaking any laws. Although some may see as operating within a gray zone, they are completely transparent about their activities. The danger only comes when these goods are sold used and at a higher price or marketed as luxury goods.
This certainly leads into dissonance between the company’s intention and the resale market of the products. These resale markets exist throughout the world, whether on street corners in New York late at night or down alleys in developing countries. The products being sold might be sold at a steeper discount than the real item, but even here buyers must know they are purchasing fake products. It is when there is intentional malicious intent to sale them as originals commonly happening on sites like Ebay.
It’s skeptical a utilitarian argument may be made to justify counterfeit or fake products. Though it may make the owner pleased to be seen or identified with a luxury product, many of these goods do not possess the same quality. In fact, they are highly overpriced for the quality they are. In this sense, there is actually an exploitation taking place. Further, the value or desirable nature of the original items may sink as the market becomes saturated with fakes leaving a more wary buyer or public assuming the majority of purses are fake.
According to Kant’s categorical imperative, the act must be universally accepted. With this in mind, counterfeit products simply have no place in any market as they infringe on the trademarks of existing brands. As this is illegal in many countries the manufacturing or sale of any counterfeit item is prohibited. Further, as the intention of the product is to deceive others into believing it is an original, not by style alone, but by mimicking brand names, the product and company itself must cease operations.
Despite the measures the company is taking to maintain their operation within a gray area, the ultimate question for counterfeit products revolves around who is it trying to fool. Is the product simply made for the purpose of imitating a luxury product or is it lending to more deceptive behaviors? I would argue there is a fine line between imitation and counterfeit. Where the bags have brand names clearly displayed, it is a fake.
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