Customs authorities in the USA and Germany intercept large quantities of counterfeit clothing, while an international series of raids in Europe strikes against music and film piracy. In parallel, a new awareness campaign on fake pharmaceuticals is being launched in the UK.

Counterfeit sneakers worth millions seized
American customs agents of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) confiscated fake sneakers worth over 2.2 million US dollars (about 2 million euros) in early October. In the port of Long Beach, California, the officials seized more than 14,800 pairs of shoes, which were coming from China and had falsely been declared as napkins. The products are counterfeit special editions and retro models of the brand Nike, which can sell for prices of up to 2,000 US dollars (ca. 1,800 euros) per pair. “Counterfeit brand-name shoes is a multi-million dollar criminal industry. The trafficking of these items is extremely lucrative”, comments LaFonda Sutton-Burke, CBP Port Director of the LA/Long Beach Seaport.

Thousands of counterfeit clothing items seized
As announced at the beginning of October, German customs officers intercepted fake clothing products worth around 167,000 euros at Frankfurt Airport. The cargo shipment was on its way from Turkey into the Ukraine and included fake tracksuits, sweaters, jeans, and T-shirts, violating a total of 18 different brands. Officials had examined the cargo as part of a routine inspection, checking shipments from countries that often act as points of origin for counterfeits.

Largest German hub for pirated copies taken off the Web
The largest illegal file hosting service targeting the German-speaking market, share-online.biz, was taken offline in mid-October following cross-border raids. Police units in Germany, France, and the Netherlands raided several residential and commercial premises in the three countries and secured extensive evidence. The authorities were supported by the German association Gesellschaft zur Verfolgung von Urheberrechtsverletzungen (GVU). In Germany, three men are now being investigated who are said to have generated more than 50 million euros in sales between 2008 and 2017, offering copyrighted media such as films and music for illegal download.

Pharmaceutical company warns against counterfeit drugs
Pfizer is currently launching an awareness campaign in the United Kingdom to raise awareness of the dangers of counterfeit medicines traded online. As one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical manufacturers, Pfizer wants to educate young people about how easy it is to buy counterfeit drugs on the Internet and how this entails serious risks. Students in particular are a target group that is increasingly buying fake drugs, not knowing that they are counterfeits. “In the best case counterfeit medicines just don’t work, but in the worst case scenario they can kill you”, says Neville Broad, Lab Research Manager at Pfizer.

Sources: CBP; Hauptzollamt Frankfurt am Main, Frankfurter Neue Presse; GVU, Polizei Aachen; Pharma Times