It seems these days everyone is faking it because, with digital technology, everything can be faked, said Frederick Mostert, chairman of the Authentics Foundation at the World Retail Congress in Barcelona.

However, there is a huge cost associated with this and according to Mostert people have no idea about “the real cost to society from fake products”.

This cost includes the growing use of child labour, funding organised crime and terrorism, and serious health and safety infringements, said Mostert.

He said fakers are using sophisticated software to make practically flawless CAD CAM copies of a huge diversity of products, as part of a fast growing counterfeit market that includes anything from watches and wines to cigars and sports cars.

“Fake watches are so good that jewellers can’t tell the difference.”

Tim Trainer, president of the Global Intellectual Property Strategy Centre, urged retailers to make their voices heard among governments and policy-makers.

“Companies are not taking advantage of the influence they can have on government policy against counterfeiting. Never underestimate the opportunity you have as retailers in framing the language that goes into an agreement protecting intellectual property,” says Trainer.

Marilu Caparelli, head of legal and public affairs for Ebay in Italy added that the rise in fake goods undermined online sales by eroding consumer confidence and that Ebay was fundamentally committed to the fight against counterfeiting and had developed anti-counterfeiting campaigns in a number of countries.