Austria reports another sharp increase in confiscated counterfeits, while authorities in Germany and the USA seize fake fashion and protective masks, respectively. Meanwhile, China has announced that it wants to take stronger action against counterfeits in the future.

Austrian customs seizes ten times more counterfeits
In 2019, Austrian customs confiscated ten times as many counterfeits as in the previous year, while the number of intercepted consignments ‘only’ tripled. According to the recently published report on counterfeiting, the Produktpirateriebericht 2019, over 370,000 products were seized, with an original value of more than 16 million euros. Next to luxury goods such as watches and perfumes, consumer goods such as toys and cosmetics were also intercepted frequently. A declining trend is only evident in counterfeit medicines, although this is against the background of major seizures in 2018, when pharmaceutics fakes valued at 1.2 million euros were confiscated.

Counterfeit sports shoes intercepted in Hamburg
More than 1,300 counterfeit designer shoes were seized by customs officials in Hamburg from a sea freight container hailing from China. As was only recently released, the customs investigators had already found the counterfeit items in late February. The fake goods had been shipped together with a number of generic no-name products. According to customs information, the counterfeits were imitations of a total of about 400 different sports shoe models from current fashion collections of several well-known manufacturers.

Thousands of fake protective masks seized in the US
Customs officers of the American U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized around 2,000 counterfeit disposable respiratory masks carrying the 3M brand in early April. In a center for express shipments in Cincinnati, Ohio, the officers seized the counterfeits worth about 7,000 US dollars (about 6,500 euros). The masks were addressed to a private home address in Austin, Texas, and originated in China. “Cincinnati CBP screens freight from all over the world,” said Richard Gillespie, Cincinnati Port Director.

China pledges stronger action against counterfeiting
According to a recent announcement, China wants to take stronger action against counterfeiting and trademark infringement. This was said by Gan Lin, Vice-Minister of the State Administration for Market Regulations, on the occasion of World Intellectual Property Day on 26 April 2020 in Beijing. The new measures are to follow on increased action against improper trade in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic; according to Gan, authorities have already seized over 89 million illegal face masks and more than 400,000 other substandard protective supplies. Among others, Gan said that tougher penalties are planned for those intentionally or repeatedly producing or selling counterfeits.

Sources: Federal Ministry of Finance (Austria), Die Presse; Hauptzollamt Hamburg; CBP; China Daily