Wednesday, August 7, 2013

WORKING TOGETHER TO FIGHT COUNTERFEITING

A flea market is a small business community comprised of even smaller businesses and individual vendors. The vast majority of merchandise sold at flea markets falls into the typical beloved categories:  resale items, antiques, collectibles, vintage items, furniture, weird stuff, crafts, books, jewelry, clothing, accessories, junque, overstock, store returns, produce, gourmet food.

However, the heavy presence of expensive smart phones and electronics in the global marketplace has caused the parallel appearance of 3 versions of potential problem merchandise:

  1. Generic components- possibly allowed
  2. Compatible components-possible allowed
  3. Evil, infringing counterfeits-not allowed
Sometimes a very fine line distinguishes between these three version and unfortunately, it is up to us to analyze and determine an item's appropriateness for our market. Sometimes we are able to consult with an individual company to glean quick information, but often we do this the long way

Port of Seattle
Wolff's continually researches the latest products, news and lawsuits and sets parameters for which type of merchandise is allowed or banned. This may change weekly!

Most counterfeits arrive on freight barges from China at ports on the east (New York) or west (California, Washington, Alaska) coasts. If not found and seized by customs at those points in the pipeline, counterfeits eventually work their way into the middle of the country-namely Chicago, which has the third highest presence of counterfeits in the country. We subscribe to Google alerts for many licensed brands in order to predict what items may be coming our way and are hopefully ready with starter information should the item appear at our market.

When I say appear, the item may attempt to trickle in as a single low quality fake. For example, we were ready for the appearance of counterfeit ____ phone cases, and were able to determine which items didn't belong. Those vendors who attempted to sell were quickly evicted.

While we fight counterfeits, our scale is obviously a small dot in the equation. Here are examples of larger scale efforts. Until the sources along the counterfeit pipeline are stopped, fakes will trickle into the country and end up at independently owned stores, mall kiosks, warehouses, ebay, craigslist, pop-up stores, "a guy" and flea markets. I will update this site as more news appears.

  1. US and China working together: http://usfinancepost.com/us-china-join-forces-to-seize-counterfeit-products-4160.html
  2. Apple to take back and exchange counterfeit chargers: http://www.apple.com/support/usbadapter-takeback/ 
  3. Facebook bans counterfeit sites: http://www.10news.com/money/consumer/facebook-sites-selling-counterfeit-bags-close-pages07112013 
  4. Google's Trademark and Counterfeit Policy: http://siia.net/piracy/workshop/Google_Chen.pdf

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