Industry group stings counterfeit operation

More than 2,300 golf clubs – illegal copies of authentic golf brands – were seized in a recent raid of golf stores in China, underscoring the on-going industry fight against overseas counterfeiting.

The Beijing Hadian District Court found five individuals associated with the illegal gear guilty of attempting to sell counterfeit golf equipment, according to a July 15 statement issued by the U.S. Golf Manufacturers Anti-Counterfeiting Working Group.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Group includes Acushnet Co. (Titleist and FootJoy); Callaway Golf (Odyssey, Top-Flite and Ben Hogan); Cleveland Golf, Srixon and Never Compromise; Nike Golf; Ping; and TaylorMade-Adidas Golf and Ashworth. Formed in 2004, the coalition petitions governments to enforce their country’s laws against counterfeiters. The group’s efforts have resulted in dozens of raids of manufacturing, warehouse, assembly and retail facilities by Chinese law enforcement.

In the latest incident, the Beijing court sentenced in June the five counterfeiters to jail terms of more than one year and ordered them to pay fines of approximately $54,000.

The court found that the defendants operated warehouses containing large quantities of counterfeit golf equipment that were sold in retail outlets such as the Beijing World Famous Golf Store and the Beijing Te Qi Qiao International Commerce Center.

Alerted by the Anti-Counterfeiting Group, Chinese authorities raided these locations and seized the illegal clubs as well as counterfeit golf caps, bags and accessories. The confiscated items included illegal copies of authentic products made by all of the Anti-Counterfeiting Group’s manufacturing members.

Convictions are aggressively sought by the group, which is attempting to raise public consciousness about the criminal activity.

According to the group’s statement: “Counterfeiters steal the trademarks and intellectual property rights of brand owners and defraud consumers who think that they are buying genuine products.”

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