Seen and heard: counterfeiting news in brief

Fake oil filters, Harley-Davidson legal action, IP infringement operation, Anglican Church takes on fakes, fake oxycodone network, and India’s currency crackdown.

Operation uncovers fake oil filter racket

A sting operation in Australia by car makers Toyota and Hyundai has uncovered a racket selling fake-branded oil filters, with tens of thousands of counterfeits estimated to be in circulation, reports. In one raid, 500 knockoffs were seized from a single importer, who had been selling the filters online as genuine parts. The seized items appeared to come in original packaging and appeared authentic, but lab tests found the “highly sophisticated copies” contained “inferior and unsuitable” filters and springs, which would have made the parts ineffective.    

Harley-Davidson sues counterfeiters

A group of Chinese counterfeiters are being sued by motorcycle giant Harley-Davidson for allegedly creating hundreds of online stores designed to look genuine with content and images but which in fact sell fake products to unknowing consumers. The bogus goods include motorcycle parts, apparel and jewellery. Harley-Davidson claims the defendants have gone to great lengths to conceal their identities and the scope of the counterfeiting operation, and accuses them of using unauthorised search engine optimisation tactics to rank higher on search engines. The company claims its brand and reputation has been “irreparably damaged” as a result and is seeking $2m for each use of the Harley-Davidson trademarks.

IP infringement crackdown in China

Two China-US anti-counterfeiting operations have discovered more than 1,560 cases of intellectual property infringement in goods destined for export to the US, Reuters reports. The figure was released by China’s General Administration of Customs, which said it was actively promoting co-operation with customs administrations of all countries to help fight IP infringement. The news comes as the US begins to investigate China for alleged intellectual property violations and counterfeiting activities, which the US says is hurting US companies.

Church partners to fight fakes

The Anglican Church in Ghana is taking on the fight against fake drugs after partnering with the Chana Standards Authority and the Food and Drugs Authority, according to Graphic Online. Describing counterfeit meds as a “social vice”, the Anglican Bishop of Accra, Rt Rev Dr Daniel Torto, said the church was well positioned to “help the GSA to mount the campaign against the proliferation of fake drugs in the country”. The GSA and FDA will work with groups the church was training to fight the illicit activity.

Surgeon at centre of counterfeit pill network

An orthopaedic surgeon from Florida, US, has been indicted by a federal grand jury for providing counterfeit oxycodone pills laced with fentanyl to a woman who later overdosed and died, the Palm Beach Post reports. An investigation that uncovered a fake oxycodone manufacturing and distribution network, found Dr Johnny Clyde Benjamin, Jr, was the source of the fake pills implicated in the death. If convicted, Benjamin will face a minimum of 20 years and a maximum of life in prison.

Terror funding cut

A year after India’s shock move to scrap 1,000 and 500 rupee notes in a bid to eliminate corruption and counterfeit currency, the country’s finance minister Arun Jaitley has announced that terror funding through counterfeit currency has been cut. The claim was based on learnings from security agencies in Jammu, Kashmir and Chhattisgarh, which had found that cash flow to terrorist organisations had dropped.

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