Archives for September 2013

Washington State man sentenced for trafficking counterfeit airbags

A Vancouver, Wash. man who imported and sold hundreds of counterfeit vehicle airbags on eBay and Craigslist, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to six months in prison, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.

He allegedly imported counterfeit Honda, Subaru and Toyota airbags from sources in China and elsewhere, and sold them over the internet representing them as the genuine product.  He sold at least 964 of the counterfeit airbags via eBay with a sales total of $137,243.  He sold individual Honda airbags for an asking price of $110.

“The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has tested some counterfeit airbags resulting in alarming failures.  Driving a car equipped with a counterfeit airbag may be more dangerous than driving a car with no airbag at all in light of the potential for explosive shrapnel being thrown at the driver or passenger whose airbag fails…

The case was investigated by the FBI and Homeland Security Investigations.

Read more…

Counterfeiting links to organized crime highlighted

Counterfeiting funds Organized Crime in Scotland, the United States, and elsewhere.

Although buying a fake designer handbag, watch or sunglasses might be seen as a “victimless way to get something desirable on the cheap”, the money made from the trade in these types of goods was often used to fund significant criminal activity.

He added: “We know that serious organized criminals in Scotland will be tenacious in exploiting every avenue in human misery to make money from their illegal doings.

David Harvie, from the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, added: “The people of Scotland should be aware of the real effects of purchasing counterfeit goods – such behaviour only funds the groups that undermine our communities.

“While the prosecution service will continue do all in our power to prosecute and recover the profits made by organised criminals, so too should people across Scotland be aware of the ways in which they can assist in cutting off the funding at source.”

 

Read more…

$210 million in counterfeit handbags seized

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at the port in Los Angeles and Long Beach intercepted more than 16,000 fake bags in nine shipments from China and Hong Kong between June 6 and Sept. 17, The Riverside (Calif.) Press-Enterprise reported.

Hermes bags sell for as much as $9,400 to $18,000 apiece, said Elva Muneton, assistant port director of trade.

Muneton said people who buy counterfeit handbags for less “think they’re probably getting a deal,” but she noted the fakes may be made of plastic, rather than leather, and are poorly sewn.

Read more…

Department of Homeland Security Agents bust State Fair counterfeit booth

While vendors are selling merchandise at the New Mexico state fair, one vendor was arrested after being accused of selling counterfeit goods.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Agents were observed seizing multiple boxes with fake designer jewelry, sunglasses cases and wallets among others items.

“We’re seeing an increase in counterfeit goods in all the states,” said Kevin Abar, an assistant DHS agent in New Mexico.

 

Read more…

Counterfeit goods hurt legitimate retailers and the local economy

Over the weekend, U.S. customs agents say they seized two million dollars worth of counterfeit items at an Elmore County flea market.

Elmore County’s Santuck Flea Market is open for business on the first Saturday of every month, with vendors selling everything from area rugs to electronics. But the Flea Market was just the site of a federal raid, with more than 100 agents confiscating what they say were counterfeit goods. Some say they’re pleased with the big bust.

“These retail stores, it’s taking away from businesses and also cuts jobs because if you’re not going into the retail store to buy things then people are not going to have jobs,” says Montgomery resident Felicia Rose.

“Every dollar that goes toward counterfeit merchandise is a dollar that’s essentially stolen from legitimate vendors,” says Cox. “They pay taxes, they employ workers and they support the overall healthy economy.”

Read more…

Fashion designers rely on patents to deter knock-offs

Design companies tending to the details of fashion shows have more to think about than skirt lengths and handbag clasps — they must decide whether to seek U.S. patent protection for their looks.

Diane von Furstenberg, famous for her wrap dresses, has a design patent on a chain mail-style bag. The popular French line Celine has one on the envelope-style handbag sported by countless fashion experts at New York Fashion Week.

This summer alone, brands including Alexander Wang, Balenciaga and Tod’s all were granted design patents by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on accessory designs, records show.

Because U.S. copyright and trademark laws often do not apply to new, logo-free designs, designers are applying for design patents to protect clothing and accessories from being targets for knockoffs, industry attorneys said.

 

Read more...