The health and safety risk of purchasing counterfeit products highlighted into an original Japanese manga. This was the aim of the Real Manga competition organized by the Japan Office of the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) during the summer 2010, won by a brilliant video game designer: Ms. Emiko Iwasaki.

manga_final_coverHer work, named “Honmono”, is an appealing and easy way to help people better understand Intellectual Property and create public awareness about why it is so important to respect and protect IP rights.

“It is often the case that what you read in a textbook slips away from your mind, no matter how many times you read it. But information that is presented as a manga stays with you even if you have only read it very quickly. I am a firm believer that manga is one of the best tools for teaching people about the risks of counterfeit goods.” said Mr. Ken-Ichiro Natsume, Director of the JPO’s Multilateral Policy Office.

Honmono has drawn our attention because of its international audience and the possibility to get to different people around the world in a direct, engaging and easy way, creating a public consciousness about the danger caused by the purchasing of counterfeit products.

The fight against counterfeit products is now more than ever a current issue. The sectors affected are various: from pharmaceutical, food, drinks, cosmetics, toys, househols products and car parts.

Trademarks are distinctive signs that helps distinguish the goods and services from those of the competitors. Counterfeit products, imitating the genuine ones, represents a real danger to people and economic growth. Besides, they also offer no guarantee of quality and no after-sales service. In the worst cases, counterfeit products can pose serious health and safety risks.

That is why the traffic of counterfeit product is not just a problem of violation of Intellectual Property rights but, as Ms. Iwasaki’s manga shows, they can put at risk consumers safety.

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