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February 2020




Musée de la Contrefaçon

So many of the other 130 museums in Paris take the spotlight (that’s the number withIN the city limits, not including the metropolitan area). At last, I went to the museum of counterfeiting.

Real and fake examples of the art, luxury goods, tobacco, auto, perfume, sports and medical sectors particularly prey to this practice. The museum continues its original function of training customs and law enforcement officers, but has branched out to instruct about intellectual property rights.


Without our guide, Jean-Manuel Traimond, this museum might possibly have been a disappointment. However, his pointing out the difference between legal copies and fake re-creations and their varying repercussions were cause for thought.

Example: There’s much less harm in a Rolex imitation than with counterfeited cement or car parts that do not meet safety standards. In other words, the buyer gets ripped off, but lives are not needlessly lost.

Even the Louvre with all its experts has fallen for fakes by not demanding the paper trail that authenticates a work.


Nike currently has the honor of being the world's most counterfeited brand, and footwear the most counterfeited product category. It is estimated that about 5% of all world trade is affected.

Vuitton and Burberry brands are prime targets.


Ironically – more likely intentionally – the Counterfeiting Museum is on rue Faisanderie in the 16th arrondissement. “Faisan” in French not only means pheasant, but also has “chiseler” connotations. Aptly, the building has fake paneling resembling the courtyard of the Elysée Palace (official residence of the French president) and the building itself is a copy of an 18th-century mansion in the Marais.




One last example: By changing names slightly, people in non Western cultures are duped.


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