A Canadian company that makes popular goose-down parkas is crying foul over counterfeits of its distinctive garb.


Canada Goose says it is hard to distinguish between its genuine goose-down jackets and cheap knockoffs. This one is a counterfeit. ((Canada Goose))

Canada Goose said the cheap knockoffs are costing the company money, and sullying its reputation.

"If you're counting on your jacket to keep you warm in extreme temperatures and you buy a counterfeit jacket that has no down in it, then you're susceptible to frostbite or worse," Canada Goose vice-president of marketing Kevin Spreekmeester told CBC News.

Spreekmeester said the Montreal company's jackets are top quality, made with genuine goose down and trimmed with coyote fur. They sell for around $800.

But counterfeits are being sold at much less, sometimes in the range of $100, sometimes even less.

The price should be a dead giveaway, Spreekmeester said. Canada Goose does not discount its jackets.

Canada Goose has purchased some of the counterfeits and had them analyzed. The company was not impressed with the results.

Instead of being trimmed with coyote fur, Spreekmeester said in some cases the fur is from dogs and cats. He referred to the trim on some as "German shepherd."

As for the insulation, he said it's definitely not goose down.

"It's called feather mulch, and that can be any parts of a bird, any type of bird and quite often it includes bacteria and mildew and all kinds of nasty stuff," Spreekmeester said.

'Intellectual property crimes are not victimless.' —Eric Holder, U.S. Attorney General

The sale of counterfeit goods is a huge business, estimated to be valued in the billions of dollars.

On Nov. 29, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement shut down 82 websites that were selling counterfeit goods.

"Intellectual property crimes are not victimless," said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. "The theft of ideas and the sale of counterfeit goods threaten economic opportunities and financial stability, suppress innovation and destroy jobs."