Thursday, April 25, 2013

WORLD INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY DAY: There's a Bust for That Counterfeit!


For the most up to date information and full texts of Wolff's Flea Market Merchandise Rules, please visit wolffs.com
Updated 8/28/2013


Who would have thought that my obsessive topic of late actually has its own holiday? April 26, 2013 is World Intellectual Property Day, a day to raise awareness of the ongoing global counterfeiting saga. 

But did you know Saturdays and Sundays are Wolff's Intellectual Property Days, and Mondays through Fridays are Wolff's Intellectual Property Research Days? Seriously. Every day my inbox is filled with assorted articles on counterfeit merchandise seizures from around the world. As I keep up with current trends and share my information, realize that I am not a lawyer and don't pretend to know everything.  However, obsessive topic disorder (if there is such a thing), 3.00 reading glasses, coffee, and a good internet connection keep the research and learning going and going... Out of this research we at Wolff's discuss  a summary of my information and try to make the best decisions possible as to which merchandise is appropriate and legal for sale at our markets. Believe us when we say we want vendors to make money and sell as much as possible, but if it is counterfeit, it must go. Images used for purposes of education and discussion. Trademarks belong to individual companies. Below are lists of a variety of lawsuits and busts. Check back for news and verdict outcomes as they become available.

Bust Photo: 3 Orange County Vendors charged with selling counterfeit goods
I see: Dr. Dre, Louis Vuitton, Perfumes, Jewelry (ICE)
What is Intellectual Property (IP)? According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) website,
"Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce."
There are two types of IP:
  1. Industrial property: trademarks, inventions, designs - Example: patterns on purses like Coach's CC 
  2. Copyright: literary and artistic works, books, music, paintings, photographs, movies, broadcasts
So, in honor of World Intellectual Property Day, I bring you links to some of the more prominent busts that have occurred in a variety of scenarios and merchandise categories. 


"Approximately $500,000 worth of counterfeit clothing, accessories, DVDs
and CDs seizedat a Winnepeg Store.  (Manitoba RCMP News)
INDEPENDENTLY OWNED STORE BUSTUnfortunately, some stores are a mixed shopping bag. You cannot always trust your local independently owned small store to supply you with authentic wholesale products. These stores can order and import whatever they want, then sell it to you to bring to a flea market. Likewise, we cannot always trust receipts you show us from these types of stores. Maybe we need their receipts?  Fortunately, these same stores can also sell you good products for resale. You must do your own research and know what you are getting.
  1. Chicago Store Bust: http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/Employees-Arrested-for-Selling-Thousands-in-Counterfeit-Clothing-208011431.html 
  2. http://www.mysteinbach.ca/newsblog/12751.html
  3. http://m.therepublic.com/view/story/bc16729ba77a43369e64e5d7aade04ee/KS--Counterfeit-Goods-Lawsuit
  4. http://www.suntimes.com/news/crime/4867504-418/nine-held-in-counterfeit-apparel-sales-ring.html
  5. http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/04/24/2847165/raleigh-police-bring-back-bags.html
  6. Felony charged filed: http://www.ice.gov/news/releases/1304/130424santaana.htm
  7. Independently owned store in a mall:  http://www.carolinalive.com/m/news/story?id=936888#.UheO_o7XeIB
BIG BOX STORE BUST- It's true, even big box stores are not immune to alleged counterfeit scandals. Litigation outcome is pending.
IMPORTER BUST- Headway is made when importers and middlemen can be caught before the counterfeit items trickle down to streets and stores.
  1. MASSIVE CONSPIRACY: http://m.fbi.gov/#http://www.fbi.gov/newark/press-releases/2013/five-members-of-massive-counterfeit-goods-conspiracy-plead-guilty

PURSE PARTY BUST - On the surface, purse parties seem to be fun "girls night out", but counterfeits are counterfeits, wherever they are sold.

  1. http://www.ice.gov/news/releases/1208/120814peoria.htm


WEBSITE BUST
  1. Big news-NFL shuts down 1500 counterfeit China websites: http://abcnews.go.com/Sports/wireStory/nfl-shut-counterfeit-sales-websites-19041948#.UXmssY6oYlM
  2. Chanel takes action: http://www.domainpulse.com/2013/01/29/chanel-takes-action-on-domains-seized-selling-counterfeit-goods/
  3. http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/u-s-world/over-300-websites-seized-in-counterfeit-nfl-merchandise-bust-by-feds
  4. Shoes website: http://counterkicks.com/2010/11/u-s-homeland-security-seizes-a-dozen-counterfeit-footwear-website-domains/
EBAY BUST
  1. Sold Counterfeit UGG boots on eBay: http://www.thisissouthwales.co.uk/Pair-tens-thousands-pounds-selling-fake-Ugg-boots/story-18790805-detail/story.html#axzz2RULZIWoO

MANUFACTURER BUST
  1. Right here in Chicago-Bears, Blackhawks, hats, jerseys: http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/3003867-418/sheriff-kim-office-counterfeit-items.html
  2. 2 Men Plead Guilty: http://www.ice.gov/news/releases/1304/130424houston.htm
Illegal NFL embroidery machine
(Chicago Sun-Times)
CRAIGSLIST BUST
  1. Sold Counterfeit Dr. Dre Headphones on Craiglist: http://www.examiner.com/article/man-arrested-sale-of-counterfeit-beats-by-dr-dre-headphones
FLEA MARKET BUST
  1. http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2013/02/18/police-crack-down-on-counterfeits-at-north-point-plaza-flea-market/
  2. http://wftc.membercenter.worldnow.com/story/21441594/atlanta-police-raid-flea-market-for-counterfeit-goods
  3. http://onlineathens.com/local-news/2013-05-11/multiple-arrests-made-after-authorities-raid-jj-flea-market
  4. http://www.accessnorthga.com/detail.php?n=261483
MALL KIOSK BUST-That's right, you can't always trust the legitimacy of merchandise sold at independently operated mall kiosks. Sorry. And we cannot always trust the receipts you show us.
    Mall Kiosk Bust for Counterfeit Perfume
    (The Enterprise)
  1. Counterfeit phone accessories: http://www.wivb.com/dpp/news/crime/homeland-security-raids-mall-kiosks
  2. Sold counterfeit perfume:  http://www.wcvb.com/news/local/boston-south/Police-seize-30-000-in-counterfeit-perfume-from-Westgate-Mall-kiosk/-/9848842/18384190/-/wx6a85z/-/index.html
  3. Notes from the field:  When visiting the local mall, you are sure to find a few counterfeit items for sale in the independently or small-chain operated kiosks. You will find original merchandise as well. How can this be? We don't know! What do you think? Is it the "independently owned store effect"? To date, we have seen the following counterfeits at mall kiosks: all brands of designer purses, Hello Kitty jewelry, Chanel jewelry, counterfeit Apple earbuds, cases, panels, chargers and  cables. 
  4. Counterfeit Apple products: http://foxbaltimore.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/state-police-seize-fake-apple-products-arundel-mills-mall-21969.shtml?wap=0#.Uh_HwY7XeqM
  5. More on the kiosk bust: http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2013/08/29/md-police-raid-turns-up-fake-apple-products/ Picture:
CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION BUST
  1. Customer Broker lawsuit: Coach won $8million award in a case involving a "customs brokerage firm". That's the middle man who gets the counterfeit items past customs and into the hands of the next level. This is a landmark case. http://www.wwd.com/business-news/legal/coach-wins-8-mn-jury-award-6891858
  2. Seized sports jerseys, hat, purses at Los Angeles Airport: http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_22195523/customs-agents-show-off-loot-from-recent-lax
    Selection of Counterfeit Goods seized at LAX (Brittany Muray Photographer)
PRIVATE HOME BUST
  1. http://www.imperialvalleynews.com/index.php/news/california-news/3868-orange-county-vendors-charged-with-selling-counterfeit-goods.html
  2. Sold counterfeit purses, electronics, cosmetics: http://www.ice.gov/news/releases/1301/130124littlerock.htm
  3. Man caught with counterfeit goods in his van pleads guilty: http://www.wfmj.com/story/23235260/man-caught-with-hundreds-of-counterfeit-designer-goods-pleads-guilty-in-youngstown 
WAREHOUSE BUST-All the counterfeit goods that make it past customs need to be stored somewhere.
  1. http://miami.cbslocal.com/2013/05/09/ice-agents-raid-warehouse-storing-counterfeit-merchandise/ 
MEDIA EFFORTS TO STOP COUNTERFEITING
  1. FACEBOOK: http://facecrooks.com/Scam-Watch/Facebook-Fights-Counterfeit-Ads-Bad-Ad-Placement-on-Site.html
MANUFACTURER EFFORTS TO STOP COUNTERFEITING
  1. Apple's exchange program for counterfeit chargers: http://www.apple.com/support/usbadapter-takeback/
  2. Otterbox wins a case: http://www.fortmilltimes.com/2013/08/20/2901137/otterbox-earns-another-victory.html
Take this counterfeit aptitude test. What is your score?

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