Prada CEO (and husband to Miuccia) Patrizio Bertelli appeared on Bloomberg Television yesterday and spoke about the company’s plans to open 260 stores by 2014, pricing differences between goods sold in China and Europe, and most interestingly, his thoughts on counterfeit fashion.
Here’s how the part about counterfeiting went down with Bloomberg’s Robyn Meredith:
RM: Of course, in China, there are far more counterfeits sold of your brand than real products. What do you do about that?
PB: I always say counterfeits, we’re happier to have them than not have them. Don’t you think it’s sad for a brand that no one wants to copy them? So there would be the first serious answer on counterfeits. And something else about counterfeits is that they provide a source of labor and income for lots of other people. So, maybe they’re not totally bad. So, in other words, we have a dual function. We want to penetrate the markets, we want to become successful and sell a lot in new markets. And we end up creating a lot of jobs and counterfeit factories, so that’s very good. And of course, we engage in all possible lawsuits and everything we can do to protect our products, which is very challenging. And also, our industry doesn’t lend itself very well to patent protection. It’s not like the high-tech industry where patents are a lot more effective.
We’re surprised by Bertelli’s view on the topic. There have been a good number of counterfeit lawsuits as of late and most involve luxury brands. Of course, a spokesman attempted to lessen the blow of Bertelli’s statement’s to WWD: “The quote is part of an extended conversation that underscored how the market of counterfeits is an objective reality for successful brands and how this phenomenon has its own reality, also in terms of manufacturing, that is very structured.”