March 30, 2011 § 1 Comment
Luxury brands, especially Louis Vuitton, have been taking action against counterfeits since the 1800s. In a recent lawsuit, Coach Inc. is taking action against two local businesses in North Carolina for selling counterfeit products. Local authorities received complaints about Hair Villa Salon in Fayetteville due to the fact that they were promoting the availability of counterfeit goods. Secondly, retail boutique Clothing and Such Warehouse was found to be in trademark violation as well, when visited by an undercover agent. According to a recent article, Coach is seeking up to $2 million in damages from the claims for breach to its trademark.
Louis Vuitton and Burberry are also currently seeking damages for breach of trademark and copyright against a Canadian fashion company. The two luxury brands are seeking up to $3 million in damages. Lawyer Michael Manson told Canadian courts earlier this month that this ruling could be the largest anti-counterfeiting judgment in Canadian history.
As luxury brands continue to crackdown on businesses, locals are starting to speak up. Both businesses involved in the Coach Inc. case were brought to the authorities attention through filed complaints. They best thing you can do to help fight fakes is to say something. If you see a store or salon selling a fake, report it.
March 17, 2011 § 1 Comment
CHINA HAS A BAD REPUTATION AS BEING ONE OF THE leading sources in counterfeit manufacturing. Everything from counterfeit clothes to fake pharmaceuticals and electronics have been sourced from China. Starting last October, Chinese authorities began the largest crackdown the country has seen in a very long time. From seizures of counterfeit products to thousands of arrests, police and customs officials are taking no prisoners.
(Image taken from here)
According to a recent Fox News article, Chinese authorities have arrested over 3,000 people and shut down 292 websites selling counterfeit and fake goods. They expect these numbers to continue to rise. The American Chamber of Commerce in China says 70 percent of its member companies consider Beijing’s enforcement of patents, trademarks and copyrights ineffective. The article also mentions that rampant copying has hampered Beijing’s efforts to attract technology industries because businesspeople say companies are reluctant to do high-level research in China or bring in advanced designs for fear of theft. The Chinese are fully aware of their reputation regarding the fake trade, but law enforcement has promised the public that their current anti-counterfeiting campaign will continue to grow, produce lasting results and reduce the number of criminals.
Hopefully this latest campaign will push China away from being one of the top producers of counterfeit products and establish the country as a more reputable source for manufacturing and for doing business in general.
March 16, 2011 § Leave a comment
JOHN CRUDELE’S COLUMN OF THE NEW YORK POST TODAY IS AN INTERESTING recap of a recent undercover investigation into the counterfeit industry in New York City. The Post hired a spy to go underground into the warehouses and supply chain of the fake trade in our own backyard.
The undercover agent found tons of fake clothes, handbags and sneakers. He even overheard conversations between wholesalers and customers “talking about how much they liked these enemies of the US.” One man said he liked Hezbollah, the Middle East terrorist organization. It has become increasingly evident that the sales from counterfeits fund terrorist acts. In a recent FANIF blog post, we referenced an article about a man who was charged for selling counterfeits in order to raise funds for this same group.
The Post started the investigation to show consumers all the millions of tax dollars that were being taken away from the city, but uncovered a much deeper issue. Crudele was left wondering, what percentage of the sales from counterfeits ends up in the hands of those wishing to do harm to the U.S.? The problem is not just in New York City. Globally, counterfeiters are using funds for criminal activities, especially for terrorist organizations.
To check out the full video of what The Post spy found, click here.
March 5, 2011 § 3 Comments
This week we came across several articles and Facebook posts from our followers about online advertisements promoting counterfeit products. The problem with these advertisements, beside the fact that they promote counterfeits, is that they are not monitored or regulated. A recent article cited Rosetta Stone, the language instruction software company, demanding that Google be held liable for presenting paid search ads that link to counterfeit sites. Rosetta Stone has had problems with those specific ads using their trademarked name “Rosetta Stone” and linking to a site selling counterfeit software.
Below is an example of an ad recently shared with us by one of our Facebook fans. When the advertisement is clicked, it brings you to the obviously fake site selling discount designer products.
- “If you’re not part of the solution then you’re part of the problem. Perpetuating the advert of such sites = enabling the practice”
- “They need to check out everyone they allow to advertise. Called quality control. Everyone pitch in!”
- “Yes, Google and Facebook should both be held liable.”
Many brands are struggling with counterfeiters using their trademarked brand name or logo in their online advertisements to lure in consumers. This is a trademark infringement and something companies like Rosetta Stone are taking up with the government. Senator Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy prepares to reintroduce the Combating Online Infringements and Counterfeits Act and I am sure many brands will be interested in amending that bill to include liability of search engines.
March 1, 2011 § Leave a comment
MOST PEOPLE ARE AWARE OF THE CRIMINAL ACTS ASSOCIATED WITH THE SALES of counterfeit goods, while others are still skeptical. A recent arrest is a worthy example of how counterfeit goods are linked to terrorism. (See the full article here).
In Philadelphia a man was charged for selling counterfeits in order to raise funds for the terrorist group Hezballah. More specifically, Hezballah is a Lebonese militant group. The suspect sold counterfeits in the South Jersey and Philadelphia area of the U.S. and was recently extradited back for trial from South America. He has been charged with 28 offenses, including conspiring to support Hezballah with proceeds from the sale of counterfeit goods and cash, stolen merchandise and fraudulent passports. He was arrested in Paraguay last June.
There are thousands of operations such as this one happening across the globe. Criminals see counterfeiting as a low risk, high profit business to fund other crimes. In many cases, the outcome is to support terrorist acts. Evidence has shown that Al Queda training manuals suggest using the fake trade as a form of bringing in revenue to fund operations. All we ask is that you think about what you are contributing to the next time you buy a counterfeit product.