Press Review on Counterfeiting (October 2018)

IP Twins' press review on counterfeiting

1. As part of the Pangea XI operation, the Belgian customs, in collaboration with the Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products (FAMHP), controlled 14,464 packages, of which 622 contained medicines or health products. Of these, 141 were seized. They included 28,689 counterfeit products (rtbf.be, 23 oct. 2018).
2. In Brussels, in the Agora gallery, an operation conducted by authorities led to the closure of four shops suspected of counterfeiting. Authorities reportedly discovered several thousand counterfeit goods, and labels reproducing or imitating trademarks that were ready to be affixed on fake goods. A first control action had taken place in this gallery last July 27, which led to the seizure of 1,500 weapons and more than 1,600 counterfeit clothing. (rtbf.be, 9 oct. 2018; .lesoir.be, 9 oct. 2018).

3. The national association of pharmacists presented its ambassadors for the fight against counterfeit medicines. Ray’s musicians Kim EDM and N2A Teguil will contribute to the awareness of sellers and consumers about the dangers of counterfeit drugs (tchadinfos.com, 18 oct. 2018).

4. The Colombian Football Club America of Cali encourages its supporters to exchange their counterfeit jersey for an official jersey. In return, fans will receive a discount on the price of the official jersey. The goal is to eliminate counterfeiting, and to raise fans’ awareness of the value of the club’s brands (footpack.fr, 27 oct. 2018).

Czech republic
5. Honeywell’s refrigeration specialist is suing a distributor who was selling counterfeit car air conditioning systems. Honeywell highlights the risks associated with the installation and use of these counterfeit systems. In 2011, the shipping company Maersk reported three explosions causing three deaths. In the same year, about 6,000 bottles were seized in the United Arab Emirates and, in 2013, 3,500 seizures were made in Saudi Arabia. Last year, the Guangzhou Baiyun Court sentenced a man to nine months’ imprisonment for infringing the Honeywell trademark (securingindustry.com, 31 oct. 2018).

6. The French customs have been examining car parts from Turkey. An expert opinion of the owners of the intellectual property rights revealed that 3740 spare parts were counterfeits. In continuing the investigation, Customs discovered 4300 counterfeit auto parts at the importer’s. All the counterfeit products were destroyed (douane.gouv.fr, 16 oct. 2018).
7. French customs officers carried out a check in a post office. They discovered and seized many parcels containing counterfeit goods: tobacco, toys, sunglasses, t-shirts, and soccer jerseys, a watch imitating a luxury brand, pearls, a whitening cream, and salbutamol. Many of these goods were considered dangerous. (leprogres.fr, 26 oct. 2018).
8. In 2015, a group of individuals had been arrested for importing counterfeit goods from London. The counterfeit goods concerned clothing and accessories associated with luxury brands. Three men and a woman appeared before the Nanterre Criminal Court. Louis Vuitton’s attorney claimed 75,000 euros in damages. Three of the group’s members were sentenced to four, six and ten months in suspended prison (leparisien.fr, 26 oct. 2018).
9. Eleven cities in Normandy are the subject of a study on tobacco trafficking. An expert on prevention and action against tobacco trafficking indicates that 21% of tobacco consumed in Normandy comes from cross-border shopping or contraband and counterfeiting. He indicates that the networks of traffickers are very active on social media (ouest-france.fr, 10 oct. 2018).
10. French customs seized 90,000 counterfeit toys from China, valued at € 1 million. The authorities indicate that a large proportion of these goods were to be sell on the markets, in the metro and in fairs (francetvinfo.fr, 31 oct. 2018).
11. French Customs in the Channel Tunnel seized 10,000 counterfeit medicines (“sildamax 100”). The vehicle was carrying express freight between Great Britain and Poland. The trademark holder has confirmed the counterfeit and the goods have been destroyed (douane.gouv.fr, 8 oct. 2018).
12. Barrisol fights against counterfeiting online. This French company, specialized in stretch ceilings, acoustics, lighting and air conditioning, is making efforts to protect its reputation and its distribution network. Jean-Marc Scherrer, president of Barrisol, points out that the presence of counterfeits online requires great vigilance and unfailing assiduity. A strategy adapted to the brand must be put in place and, for Mr. Scherrer, this includes the registration of domain names under each new top level domain. In the industrial sectors, monitoring helps companies to have domain names recovered but it also helps to fight counterfeiting patent infringement (lesechos.fr, 19 oct. 2018).

13. The Greek Financial Crime Squad announced that the number of counterfeit and smuggled goods confiscated in January-September 2018 (just over 2 million, including 650000 garments) was almost double the number seized at the same time last year. Counterfeits mainly concern clothing (652,238 items) (ekathimerini.com, 24 oct. 2018).

Northern Ireland
14. In Antrim, a company selling children’s suits online was fined £ 10,400 for counterfeiting. The merchant was sentenced to 140 hours of unpaid community service. Authorities had discovered nearly 7,000 Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Wonder Woman, Mickey Mouse and Cinderella suits (belfasttelegraph.co.uk, 24 oct. 2018).

15. A 21-year-old man was arrested for allegedly importing and detaining nearly 5,000 counterfeit goods in the Woodlands Industrial Park and his home. Preliminary investigations revealed that he was selling counterfeit goods on various online platforms (Straitstimes.com, 15 oct. 2018; Channelnewsasia.com, 15 oct. 2018).

16. In Phuket, 3,000 counterfeit items were publicly destroyed under the direction of the head of the Phuket Customs Bureau. Most goods are watches, glasses, shoes, bags, clothes, wallets, cigarettes and tobacco (Thethaiger.com, 11 oct. 2018).
17. In Patong, 50,000 counterfeit items were seized at 28 outlets. Illegal foreigners, allegedly working without proper papers, were also arrested (thethaiger.com, 27 oct. 2018).

United Kingdom
18. In Manchester, the local authorities obtained decisions from Manchester and Salford judges to close shops in the Strangeways area on Harris Street. These shops were known to sell counterfeit goods. Seizures were made for a value of £ 2.5 million: leather goods, jewelery (including watches), accessories (scarves and belts), sports shoes, sunglasses, headphones and medicines. The authorities also discovered £ 500,000 and items that could be considered weapons. The closing of these stores follows the raids that took place on September 11, 2018. (Thebusinessdesk.com, 11 oct. 2018).
19. A couple from Deeside (south of Liverpool), had started by buying counterfeit clothing and shoes for their personal needs. Subsequently, they started selling counterfeit goods on Facebook. Investigations revealed 11 items Armani, 35 Adidas, 21 North Face, 14 Nike, 9 Hugo Boss, 6 Stone Island, 3 Moncler and Timberland boots. The magistrates ordered the confiscation of all the clothes seized. The goods were bought in Manchester on a regular basis. The two individuals, who have three minor children, were sentenced to 140 hours of unpaid work (Leaderlive.co.uk, 25 oct. 2018).
20. Interpol-controlled operation Pangea XI intercepted more than one million doses of £ 2m worth of drugs: sedative diazepam, modafinil, drugs to treat narcolepsy, etc. (Telegraph.co.uk, 24 oct. 2018).
21. A Crawley woman pleaded guilty to selling counterfeit clothing and shoes on Facebook (Nike sneakers, Stone Island jackets and Ralph Lauren polo shirts). The investigation revealed that she had created a Facebook store called Bargain Brandz. The agents made a test purchase on a pair of Nike sneakers and later confirmed that it was counterfeit (crawleyobserver.co.uk, 11 oct. 2018).
22. Individuals used online marketplaces and social networks to sell counterfeit goods (clothing, shoes, straighteners, perfumes, headphones). Following a surveillance operation consisting mainly of test purchases, they were flagged to the tax attorney. The authorities have stated that individuals who sell counterfeit goods are unaware that they are involved in organized crime networks that operate on the same pattern as drug networks (pressandjournal.co.uk, 8 oct. 2018).

United States
23. In New Orleans, the US Food and Drug Administration and the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) conducted a major anti-counterfeiting operation. One million items were intercepted (watches, handbags, perfumes, toys, medicines, contact lenses, phone chargers, etc.) (Nola.com, 22 oct. 2018).
24. In New York, a woman was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment for participating in a counterfeit trafficking estimated at $ 3 million. These include bags and shoes respectively bearing Louis Vuitton and Nike brands. Between November 2013 and February 2017, she had information related to some shipping containers. This person allegedly asked Newark Harbor workers to remove the containers before they were examined by Customs. Once the containers removed, they were delivered to others who undertook to distribute the counterfeit goods. However, the containers were intercepted by law enforcement before the distribution phase began (570news.com, Oct 23, 2018).
25. A man was sentenced to 30 months imprisonment, followed by another three years on probation, for having, over a six-month period in the course of 2017, sold counterfeit sports trading cards online. He must also return $ 142,000. The cards, presented as rare and valuable, were about baseball stars (Mickey Mantle), American football (Joe Namath) and basketball (Bill Russell). (1011now.com, 31 oct. 2018).
26. In Dover, Delaware, a man was arrested with approximately 200 counterfeit goods bearing the Apple brand (USB cables, adapters, headphones) (WBOC.com, 6 oct. 2018; Washingtontimes.com, 9 oct. 2018).
27. At the port of San Diego, customs officers seized nearly 5,000 counterfeit Apple products. The cargo, which was in an airport warehouse, came from Portugal. (Xinhuanet.com, 25 oct. 2018; kyma.com, 24 oct. 2018).
28. In Chelsea, Massachusetts, authorities seized counterfeit goods in three companies. Counterfeit products include Louis Vuitton handbags, Gucci watches, and so on (NECN.com, 10 oct. 2018).
29. In Philadelphia, Customs intercepted counterfeit Mercedes Benz car parts that had been shipped from Yangshan, China, to Newark, New Jersey. The shipment was marked “Other Motor Vehicle Parts and Accessories”. Due to concerns about the quality, origin and destination of the shipment and the company’s brand logo on auto parts, the shipment was held as a possible infringement (ajot.com, 26 oct. 2018).

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