In Italy, the special police unit Guardia di Finanza has now taken decisive actions against counterfeiting and illegal trade with spectacular seizures and a new public awareness campaign.

The Italian police unit Guardia di Finanza (GdF) has been making headway in the fight against counterfeiting and illicit trade: From 17 to 18 April alone, the GdF seized more than 3.4 million items across 77 individual actions in South Italy’s region of Apulia, according to local media reports. Apparently, criminal charges were brought against a total of 60 people over the course of the operation.

Most of the seized goods came from only one single company: Officials in Bari apparently confiscated about three million items during the raid at a wholesaler e.g. dealing in electrical appliances, toys, and household items. The items seized may pose a potential risk to consumer health, local media reports say.

Further south in the Lecce area, the GdF reportedly took a further ca. 300,000 items off the market – in particular including electronics, accessories, and consumer goods. Most of the seized products were confiscated for violations of product safety regulations, while a number of fake items was seized too.

In its fight against counterfeiting, the GdF is currently also increasing its anti-piracy communications efforts. For this, the GdF is now cooperating with the Italian football leagues Serie A and Serie B as well as with the Ministry of Economic Development (MiSE) in a campaign called Operation Offside 2, intended to raise public awareness of IP protection.

With the hashtag #loriginalevince – which roughly translates as “the original wins” – special attention is put on social media. According to the GdF, social networks such as Instagram require “constant monitoring to prosecute crimes related to the trafficking of counterfeit goods.”

Sources: Il Quotidiano Italiano Bari, LeccePrima, EUIPO