Fraudsters stand trial and new raids in USA, China, and Europe

© Corgarashu / Fotolia.
In Germany, a seller of counterfeits gets away unpunished, while in the USA a man confesses to trading thousands of fake car parts. At the border of USA and Canada, in China, and in England, officials report large seizures.

Germany: No penalty for mail-order vendor of counterfeits
Criminal proceedings against a mail-order vendor who had sold counterfeit fashion and hygiene articles as well as fake perfumes on eBay, among other things, have recently been dropped at the German district court of Hagen. According to media reports, the man had sourced high-quality imitations via business contacts abroad – e.g. in Hong Kong and Hungary. In court however, the defendant was apparently able to credibly demonstrate that he himself had been deceived by the counterfeits and had only unwittingly resold them.

Georgia: Man confesses counterfeit automotive parts trade
An American automotive dealer has now admitted in court to importing thousands of counterfeit automotive parts from China and reselling them in the USA. In his brick-and-mortar store and online on eBay, the man had sold items such as tires, rims, and wheel trims that illegally carried the brands of well-known manufacturers such as Cadillac, Ford, and GMC. Between April and August 2017 alone, the fraudster is said to have achieved an estimated turnover of more than half a million euros (approx. 590,000 US dollars). Now, he is facing imprisonment of up to ten years.

US customs intercept multiple containers of counterfeit electronics
As was reported in mid-April, US customs in International Falls at the Canadian border have recently stopped three railway containers with counterfeit electronic goods worth around 650,000 euros (approx. 715,000 US dollars). According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, they seized counterfeit amplifiers and sandwich boards as well as more than 600 boxes of earphones and cables. Counterfeit trade in Canada already caused a stir in May 2018, when the United States added neighboring Canada to its watch list of countries that lack adequate IP protection – among other countries such as China.

China’s police bust 27-million-euro Lego counterfeiting ring
In Shenzhen, South China, police officials took action at the end of April against the local brand Lepin, said to have distributed counterfeit Lego bricks worth around 200 million yuan (almost 27 million euros). “In October 2018, the Shanghai police found that Lepin building blocks available on the market were extremely similar to that of Lego,” a statement by Shanghai police says. In the current raid, officials seized over 90 production molds and around 630,000 products. The counterfeiters presumably replicated sets developed by Lego, including building instructions, and sold the counterfeit sets at significantly lower prices throughout China. Pictures published by the authorities on Weibo show packaging that looks very similar to the original Lego products; a Star Wars set, for example, was titled “Star Plan”, while sets from the Ninjago series were called “Ninjasaga”.

Hundreds of fashion fakes seized in Newcastle
Raiding a store in Newcastle, Trading Standards Service officials have now secured hundreds of suspected counterfeit fashion products carrying well-known brands. Next to the US manufacturer Nike, for example, the German textile group Hugo Boss was affected too. The estimated market value of the confiscated items amounts to around 30,000 euros (about 25,000 pounds). Investigations in the case are ongoing.

Sources: Westfalenpost; IPPro Magazin, Securing Industry; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; Xinhua, Channel News Asia, RP Online; The Chronicle

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