Counterfeit Purchase Intentions" Role of
Lawfulness Attitudes and Product
Traits as Determinants
Victor V. Cordell
Nittaya W o n g t a d a
NAtiONALINSnTUTEof DEVELOPMENT ADMiNiSTRATiON,BANGKOK,THA~U~ND
Robert L. Kieschnick, Jr.
This study hypothesizes that consumers' willingness to purchase counterfeit products is positively related to product performance expectations and negatively related to attitudes toward lawfulness. Support was found for the latter and mixed support for the former. Contingent hypotheses specified that extrinsic cues determine willingness to purchase a counterfeit. As hypothesized, branding and price conditions influence willingness to purchase low, but not high, investment-at-risk products; retailer condition influences willingness to purchase high, but not low, investment-at-risk products.
Participating in the experiment were two hundred twenty-one upper division business students. Model parameters were estimated by ordinal log~tanaly-
ses. j BUSNRES 1996. 35.41-53
Who steals my purse steals trash; . . .
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which . . . makes me poor indeed.
Iago in William Shakespeare's Othello (III, iii) he marketing practice of branding products dates at least to ancient Rome, when caps on wine amphoras revealed the maker's mark (Abalos, 1985). The objective of investing in brand development is to create an identity around which customer loyalty is built. Unfortunately, the success of a branded mark can breed imitation to the extent that competitive offerings may be designed to appear indistinguishable from the original they mimic. Most countries, however, permit
Address correspondence to Victor V. Cordell, Graduate School of International
Management, Monterey Institute of International Management, 424 Van Buren Street,
Monterey, CA 93940.
Journal of Business Research 35, 41-53 (1996)
© 1996 Elsevier Science Inc.
655 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10010
registration of trademarks, so that a registered owner is granted exclusive control over commercial exploitation of the intellectual property. In addition to benefits that accrue to the owner of a trademarked brand, the consumer gains protection in being able to identify the source of a marked product.
Any unauthorized manufacturing of goods whose special characteristics are protected as intellectual property rights
(trademarks, patents, and copyrights) constitutes produce counterfeiting. The extent of counterfeiting is suggested by a survey of 269 of the U.S.'s largest manufacturing companies, whose estimates of infringements on their intellectual property rights aggregates $24 billion in worldwide sales losses per year (United
States International Trade Commission, 1988). Respondents to that survey identified trademarks as the most important of their intellectual property rights. Separately, U.S. Customs Services in 1984 estimated losses by American makers from imported fakes at $20 billion (Harvey, 1988). But lost revenue is merely the most immediate damage to the legitimate producer, who likely suffers enforcement costs associated with trying to contain infringement, as well as erosion of consumer goodwill resulting from poorer quality look-alikes in the market. Similarly, retailers who sell counterfeits are likely to suffer product returns and loss of goodwill.
The consumer is the final participant in the counterfeit transaction chain, but consumer involvement may be either as victim or as willing collaborator. In the role of victim, the consumer believes s/he has purchased a genuine article and may never know otherwise. In the role of willing collaborator, the topic of this research, the consumer purchases a product known, or suspected, to be counterfeit. As a collaborator, the consumer