Angry Birds firm takes on merchandise counterfeiters

Angry Birds plushThe company behind mobile gaming phenomenon Angry Birds has embarked on a major campaign to crack down on counterfeit merchandise.

Finland's Rovio has enlisted the aid of the Manchester, UK-based IP Crime Unit in its battle against fake toys, clothes and other items mimicking its official products, which are made by manufacturers such as US toy giant Hasbro.

IP Crime Unit will help Rovio find and intercept counterfeit merchandise in Europe, helping the company liaise with customs and other law enforcement agencies.

IP Crime Unit operates customs surveillance programmes, investigations, litigation support and other services to a broad range of brand holders, including cosmetics giant L'Oreal, clothing brands Fred Perry and Canada Goose and firms involved in the recording and gaming industries.

Many of the counterfeits originate in China, and Rovio chief executive Peter Vesterbacka has been trying to turn the trade to the firm's advantage by identifying manufacturers who could serve as collaborative partners rather than becoming tied up in endless legal disputes.

The company has even admitted to copying some of the knock-off designs - for example helium balloons - in what Vesterbacka describes as "pirating the pirates".

At the same time, Rovio is fighting a rear-guard action against counterfeit copies of its Angry Birds and Bad Piggies game titles that have been made available on app stores, including Google Play, and seed users' devices with malware.

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