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.
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.
HM Revenue and Customs have busted an industrial scale fuel laundering plant in Northern Ireland. Customs officials and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) seized six large fuel storage tanks, 37,000 litres of illicit fuel and 1,000 litres, as well as associated equipment and 21,000 of toxic waste. It is estimated that the laundering plant could have cost £20 million in lost tax revenue per year. By taking red diesel for agricultural use and chemically removing the government marker, the perpetrators can sell the laundered fuel at a lower price, avoiding the petrol tax.
Counterfeiting of designer sunglasses and handbags is a well understood problem, but the dangers of buying laundered fuel can be significant. HMRC have clearly done well to shut down this particular operation.
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.
Google has announced it is increasing attempts to make life difficult for internet software pirates…
It seems that big brands have their hands full with differing court outcomes…?
A U.S. District Court decided in 2008 that eBay was not liable for any trademark infringement from the sale of counterfeit Tiffany products on its auction site. Tiffany appealed the decision but the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday refused to hear the appeal. Similar cases have also found in favour of eBay (such as the May 2009 L’Oreal v eBay case in France) stating that it is the brand’s responsibility to police counterfeit goods, however others have found in favour of the brands (e.g. Nov 2009, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton v eBay).
RCMP has intercepted a container of 10 million contraband cigarettes on their way from China to Canada. The cigarettes has a street value of $4.9m. Seven men were arrested…
In the past two years, Peru has become the No. 1 distributor of counterfeit currency internationally, according to Kenneth Jenkins, a U.S. special agent in charge of the Secret Service’s Criminal Investigative Division. “Approximately $33 million has been seized in Peru since 2009″…