Chinese Government Launches Major Crackdown On Counterfeit Golf Products

November 24, 2005 | Print | Email Email | Comments | Category: News

The U.S. Golf Manufacturers Anti-Counterfeiting Working Group announced that the Chinese government has launched a major new offensive against manufacturers and retailers of counterfeit golf equipment in China.

The Working Group is comprised of the Acushnet Company, Callaway Golf, Cleveland Golf, MacGregor Golf, Nike, PING and TaylorMade-adidas Golf.

The offensive comes after recent meetings between Mr. Chris Israel (International Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Coordinator) and Chinese Vice-Premier Wu Yi, where the widespread problem concerning counterfeiting of golf equipment was addressed.

As part of its obligations as a World Trade Organization member and other commitments it has made to control piracy of goods, the Chinese government promised that enforcement action would be taken.

Shortly following the meetings, Chinese authorities began a campaign of factory and retail raids stretching from Beijing in the North to Shenzhen in the South. The most impressive and significant of the raids were against counterfeit golf retailers in the Beijing Silk Market – a well known counterfeit haven in Beijing. Some 100 government and police officers descended upon the Beijing Silk Market and shut down all counterfeit golf retail operations in the market.

In quick succession, raids were carried out in Beijing, Xiamen, Quanzhou, Dongguan, Chang'an, Zhongshan, and Shenzhen. During the latest operation, illegal manufacturing equipment and thousands of counterfeit golf products ranging from clubs, bags, shoes, garments and balls were seized. It is estimated that the recent seizures are worth in excess of $5 million.

Loo Shih Yann, a principal with the international law firm of Baker and McKenzie, who is coordinating efforts on behalf of the US Golf Manufacturers Group in China calls this "one of the most intense enforcement efforts that he has seen on behalf of any industry by the Chinese government." However, the efforts of the Chinese government still lack bite because no infringers were arrested during the massive campaign.

Mr. Loo said that until infringers are subject to criminal penalties and jail sentences are meted out, the latest round of raids will not have a serious deterrent effect and will merely add to the costs of doing business for the counterfeiters. This is apparent from intelligence showing that counterfeiters are now moving retail operations out of city centers and manufacturing operations are going deeper underground to avoid detection.

The Chinese government has promised additional crackdowns against counterfeit golf equipment in coming weeks. The U.S. Golf Manufacturers Anti-Counterfeiting Working Group welcomes these efforts to sustain the momentum in enforcing the laws against golf equipment counterfeiters, and will continue to cooperate closely with Chinese enforcement authorities.

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