The European Commission has published its 2010 Report on EU customs enforcement of intellectual property rights, stating that there were 79,112 detentions of goods suspected of infringing Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) leading to 103.3 million seized items with a domestic retail value of €1.1 billion.
What were the most frequently seized articles?
- Cigarettes – 34%
- Office stationary – 9%
- Other tobacco products – 8%
- Labels, tags and emblems – 8%
- Clothing – 7%
- Toys – 7%
85% of the seized goods originated from China. The report illustrates the continuing problem of counterfeit smuggling into the EU.
The Chinese embassy in Washington is apparently refusing to give visas to US officials wanting to visit China to investigate counterfeit electronic parts, as reported by the Lincoln Tribune. US Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has hinted at the Chinese embassy’s reluctance to grant US access without an official Chinese escort. The US wants to investigate Chinese electronics manufacturers after it emerged that the U.S. Defense Department has unwittingly purchased counterfeit components for use in various crucial systems, including missile defense and flight control computers.
A new website has launched which seeks to reduce the impact of counterfeit goods being sold online by providing a trusted place to find websites selling genuine products. An Organised Crime Task Force study in 2005 found that 13% of people in the UK had bought fakes thinking that they were real. The new website, www.brand-i.org, is one way of reducing this figure but the problem of counterfeits is likely to continue unless they are stopped at the source.
The counterfeiting trade continues to pervade products in all sectors. U.S. Customs and Border control officials’ latest seizure in Los Angeles was a $1 million shipment of counterfeit karaoke machines. Read more at the Washington Post
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has warned about the growing problem of counterfeit medicines. In a press release issued last week, the UNODC noted that counterfeit drugs have an estimated value of $1.6bn in Africa and Asia alone. According to the World Health Organisation, three in 10 pharmaceutical products in the combined African, Asian and Latin American markets are fake.
UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov has called for increased attention to be given: “Fraudulent medicines offer organized criminal groups a high-return commodity with relatively low risks, ultimately at the expense of the health of unsuspecting people. These counterfeit goods indiscriminately kill, depriving the poorest of lifesaving medicines and leading to countless deaths.”
Some 60% 0f public sector organisations experienced fraud in the last twelve months, up from 52% in 2009, says a new report from PwC out today. The report suggests that loss of income as a result of the economic downturn has caused more employees to turn to fraud, emphasising the need for organisations to be extra vigilant of fraudulent activity among their employees and others.
The press release is at http://www.ukmediacentre.pwc.com/News-Releases/Fraud-in-public-sector-increases-as-cuts-bite-106b.aspx and the full report can be downloaded at http://www.ukmediacentre.pwc.com/imagelibrary/downloadMedia.ashx?MediaDetailsID=1912
Chinese police arrested 14,185 people involved in the production and sale of counterfeit goods over the last five months – further evidence of the huge scale of counterfeiting operations in China. According to philSTAR.com, over 7,000 production and sales outlets were destroyed during the period and many more are still under investigation.
Counterfeiting in China is a global problem. Many major brands continue to look for ways to tackle the phenomenon which threatens to harm brand reputation. Investigation management software systems, such as ABM’s Intellicase, can play a valuable part in helping to investigate incidents of counterfeiting.
Illustrating the scale of the counterfeiting problem in China, the country’s biggest online retailer, Taobao, has revealed that it removes around 20,000 suspected counterfeit product listings every day from its e-commerce website. As reported by Penn Olson, Taobao use various initiatives to identify counterfeit products on their website and have recently joined forces with 89 global brands to help reduce the instances of rogue products. Although 20,000 sounds like a lot of listings to remove, the website published over 10 million new product listings every day, making it extremely difficult to overcome the counterfeit goods problem. http://www.penn-olson.com/2011/03/21/taobao-counterfeit-products/
Italian officials have seized 35,000 litres or 91,000 bottles of counterfeit balsamic vinegar. The famous balsamic vinegar of Modena is protected by the European Union’s Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status which makes it a target for counterfeiting operations. The sting operation, led by the State Forester’s Brigade was conducted in several parts of Italy, as reported by AGI News.
High value food products appear to be an increasingly popular target for illegal counterfeiting. Only yesterday, Decanter.com reported that the famous wine producer, Chateau Margaux, has introduced an anti-fraud seal on all of its bottles in a bid to prevent cheap knock-offs.
I’ve just uploaded an article about the UK Bribery Act – view it at http://www.abmsoftware.com/News-and-Media_Articles_UK-Bribery-Act-2010-software.html
It is important that businesses make sure they have adequate policies and procedures in place to manage suspected cases of bribery – if they fail to do this, the business may be subject to an unlimited fine.
Investigation management software like Intellicase can be used to help address this.