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Monthly Archives: January 2016

Louis Vuitton sues Counterfeit Online Sellers in China

  • January 25, 2016
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  • French luxury goods firm Louis Vuitton is seeking damages from three people convicted of offering counterfeit versions of its clothing, shoes and handbags on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s popular Taobao shopping website, a Beijing court said.

    A district court in Beijing accepted the lawsuit filed by Louis Vuitton, owned by LVMH, the world’s biggest luxury group, last Monday, according to a statement on the court’s website.

    The company is taking the three defendants, two of them surnamed Liang and the other surnamed Han, to court, “asking them to stop infringing on its trademark and is seeking compensation of economic losses of 250,000 yuan ($37,900)”, according to the court statement.

    Louis Vuitton could not be reached for comment. It was not possible to reach the three defendants for comment.

    The three defendants were selling the goods on Taobao, an online shopping site similar to eBay and Amazon that brings together buyers and sellers, according to the court. Alibaba Group did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    The lawsuit comes three months after a U.S. clothing industry group urged the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to blacklist the Taobao website for persistent intellectual property rights violations despite pledges by the e-commerce firm to curb the problem.

    The three defendants were given unspecified criminal sentences in 2014 for selling counterfeit versions of Louis Vuitton goods, the court said.

    Source: Reuters

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-luxury-lawsuit-idUSKCN0UO0MZ20160110

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Cheetham Hill: Report reveals ‘Counterfeit Street’ problem

  • January 23, 2016
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  • _87737985_trainers
    Fake trainers and footwear are some of the items that have been seized in Cheetham Hill (Image copyright IPO)

     

    Part of Manchester has been nicknamed “Counterfeit Street” because of the widespread sale of fake goods there.

    A report by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) said items worth £1m were seized in Cheetham Hill, in 2013.

    Fake clothing, footwear, hoverboards and cigarettes have all been seized in the area.

    Intellectual Property Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe said she had raised concerns about the “counterfeiting hotbed” that continues to thrive there.

    She told the BBC the area is “almost like the counterfeit capital of the UK” and added it was a “national problem.”

     People come to Cheetham Hill in white vans and “take away fake hoverboards, booze or cigarettes,” she said.

    “What was a localised problem has become a more serious national problem.”

    She said sometimes the goods are unsafe and they have picked up some dangerous hoverboards which could be lethal, and fake alcohol that “could kill”.

    She said there would now be a concerted effort to disrupt the activity of crime groups..

    Safety ‘ignored’

    The IPO report said the concentration of counterfeiters in the area has “negative consequences for the local community and economy, as well as the harm of associated criminality such as money laundering, organised crime group involvement, drug dealing and violence”.

    Baroness Neville-Rolfe said: “This trade, where income tax and consumer safety is simply ignored, undercuts and undermines legitimate businesses and allows other criminality to be funded and flourish.”

    She said the report “signals the start of a concerted effort to disrupt and dismantle organised crime groups operating in nationally significant trade”.

    The government-funded Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) which has specialists in counterfeit crime has been given £3m by IPO.

    _87737987_fakeclothing
    The thriving clothing trade in the area is a “front for criminal sales of counterfeits”, the report said (Image copyright IPO)
     

    “Despite these efforts, the problem is so ingrained in the fabric of everyday life in the area that the problem persists, with the businesses often operational again within days of action being taken,” she added.

    The thriving clothing trade in the area is a “front for criminal sales of counterfeits,” according to the report.

    It said: “Amongst law enforcement, rights-holders and in the media, Cheetham Hill is anecdotally referred to as ‘Counterfeit Street’.

    “It is indicative of the entrenched criminal culture of the area that the trade in counterfeit goods has continued despite regular enforcement action and high-volume seizures.”

    _87737983_counterfeit
    Fake designer footwear seized by the Intellectual Property Office in Cheetham Hill (Image copyright IPO)
     
     

    But Councillor Nigel Murphy, Manchester City Council’s executive member for neighbourhoods, said: “Our trading standards officers have been working closely with Greater Manchester Police and other agencies to crack down on counterfeiting in Cheetham Hill for a number of years, and we have seized huge amounts of counterfeit items.

    “However, the scale of these criminal operations, and the fact that counterfeiters are also involved in a range of other criminal activities, means that a more co-ordinated approach is needed to deal with the issue.”

    The report stated “no single agency” can tackle the problem.

    Mr Murphy added: “I welcome that the government has recognised this issue and look forward to our officers working as part of a wider partnership to tackle the counterfeit trade.”

    Nationally, there were 75,000 counterfeit goods seized in 2014/15 with an estimated retail value of £2.5m.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-35324026

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Counting the Cost – The Trade in Counterfeit Goods in Manchester

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  • The Government has published a report that reveals in stark terms the impact of counterfeiting and the sale of black market goods in Manchester.

    Ministerial Foreword

    Image3This Government is committed to protecting the public from the insidious threat posed by organised crime, and is fighting against its lifeblood – the black market economy.

    This cause is no longer the sole responsibility of traditional law enforcement such as police forces or Trading Standards. Government departments and agencies such as the Intellectual Property Office are working in close partnership with law enforcement, sharing information and making life as difficult as possible for criminals who exploit our citizens and damage the UK economy.

    The production, distribution, and sale of counterfeit goods has always had close links to serious organised crime, a fact often not considered by the everyday bargain-hunting or cash-strapped consumer. Thanks to the ever increasing partnership between government departments, industry, and law enforcement we are leaving fewer and fewer places for criminals to hide.

    Working together we have made a significant impact on IP crime across the UK however problem areas still exist.

    Following discussions with the Anti-Counterfeiting Group, I raised concerns about the counterfeiting hotbed that continues to thrive in the area of Cheetham Hill, Manchester. This trade, where income tax and consumer safety is simply ignored, undercuts and undermines legitimate businesses and allows other criminality to be funded and flourish. This report is the first part of the multi-agency response to the criminal trade which has become established in the area, and signals the start of a concerted effort to disrupt and dismantle organised crime groups operating in nationally significant trade.

    The report also represents an important first step to delivering a managed solution across the whole range of intellectual property crime trade. The Home Office proposals for Local Profiles will be an important factor in how further intelligence work is undertaken by the Intellectual Property Office. The relationship between industry and enforcement will also be a critical one, and we call on brands to work with Government and law enforcement to help identify criminal activity.

    The UK has been regarded as a world leader in intellectual property rights enforcement. This is achieved as a direct result of co-ordinated and informed interventions. I will be maintaining a close personal interest in the progress of the challenge to the identified criminality over the coming months.

    Baroness Neville-Rolfe DBE CMG

    Minister for Intellectual Property

    See the report here:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/492514/Counting_the_cost_of_counterfeit_goods.pdf

     

     

     

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Gardai Seize Shipping Container Full of Fake Perfume from China

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  • Gardai have seized a shipping container full of fake perfume which had been destined for the Irish market after arriving here from China.

    The seizure was made by officers from the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau in a top-secret operation in Dundalk, Co Louth, last week when a ship arrived at the port.

    Counterfeit perfume was in a shipping container (Stock picture)
    Counterfeit perfume was in a shipping container (Stock picture)

    Sources said detectives have been investigating the counterfeit smuggling operations of a veteran dissident republican from Louth and his business partner from Newry, Co Down.

    The fake perfume was packaged as legitimate high-end brands, but when tested it proved to be “generic Chinese toilet water in specialist packs”.

    Gardai seized the fake perfume last Wednesday, but have not yet made any arrests.

    “The fake perfume would have been worth scores of thousands of euro to the cross- border gang who were involved in the enterprise.

    “These individuals are veteran dissident republicans who have been involved in smuggling for years,” a source said.

    Gardai have been involved in a number of operations targeting counterfeit goods in recent months.

    Only days before Christmas, officers seized €30,000 worth of counterfeit clothing and €25,000 in cash during planned raids in the capital targeting a Dublin man who is believed to be heavily involved in the illegal trade.

    The Crumlin man was not arrested, but sources said he may well face future prosecution.

    Impounded

    Earlier last month, the Herald revealed that customs officers impounded a huge consignment of hair straighteners at Dublin Port in an operation targeting a north inner city gang.

    In November, it emerged that two containers holding 59,000 bottles of counterfeit perfumes and aftershaves were intercepted at Dublin Port in a €2m seizure.

    Gardai previously ran an investigation called Operation Camac which was set up in 2011 to target those involved in the production, distribution and sale of counterfeit merchandise.

    Separately, gardai and customs officers have identified at least four separate crime groupings who are making millions of euro each year by importing illegal cigarettes which are yielding them profits of more than 900pc .

    http://www.herald.ie/news/gardai-seize-shipping-container-full-of-fake-perfume-from-china-34382766.html

     

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