Seen and heard: counterfeiting news in brief

IP infringement warnings for China, Scotch whisky trademark, court case over dodgy websites, heavy metal band sues counterfeiters, special protection for Welsh cheese, Pakistan quality crackdown, fish adulteration kit, and pepper spray authenticity.

UK PM warns China on IP infringement

The British Prime Minister Theresa May has made it clear to China on a three-day trade visit that intellectual property rights must be respected, highlighting concerns over mass counterfeiting and infringement in the country. She said that when the countries work together, “our companies… are confident that their intellectual property and rights will be fully protected”, the Express quoted May as saying. She urged that China must follow rules on “issues such as overcapacity, intellectual property and trade rules”. As the UK moves towards Brexit, the government is looking to increase cooperation with China as it becomes a global economic player in free trade.

Scotch whisky protected in China

The ‘Scotch whisky’ trademark has been renewed in China for a further 10 years, meaning the spirit will be protected against fakes and intellectual property infringements until 2028, according to The Drinks Business. Scotch whisky has been protected in China since 2008, with the Scotch Whisky Association, British Embassy and Chinese authorities actively tackling hundreds of fakes in that time and challenging companies who have used the trademarks on their Chinese-made products. The renewal comes as part of UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s three-day visit to China.

Internet providers go to court over dodgy websites

Broadband providers BT and EE are appealing a ruling in the Supreme court that would force UK internet service providers (ISPs) to block websites that sold counterfeit goods, ISPreview reports. The court case follows several years of litigation. Originally a court order was required to force ISPs to block websites found to facilitate internet copyright infringement, but this was extended in 2014 to include sites that sell counterfeit goods. An appeal by ISPs was lost in 2016 against this extension when the providers claimed the UK Trademark Act did not include a provision for website blocking and suggested the law could be applied in an overzealous way like blocking all online marketplaces. Despite the lack of success in that appeal, BT and EE are now appealing again.

Iron Maiden sues online counterfeiters

Heavy metal band Iron Maiden is suing a group of online counterfeiters, who it claims are trading on the band’s reputation and goodwill, and infringing the Iron Maiden trademarks. According to Trademarks & Brands Online, the court documents allege that internet stores have been designed to appear as authentic, authorised online retailers of Iron Maiden merchandise. The band is seeking a permanent injunction against the sellers, transfer of the domains, and either profits or $2 million for each infringing use, as well as a court order to disable the websites. 

Welsh cheese gets EU protection

Welsh Caerphilly cheese has been granted special product protection by the European Commission under the Protected Geographical Indication designation. According to the Daily Post, this is the 15th Welsh food to win this status, which gives it legal protection against imitation, misuse and fraud. 

Pakistan sets up drug surveillance centre

The government of Pakistan has set up a federal National Pharmacovigilance Centre for drug surveillance to ensure drug compliance, quality and authenticity. Provinces are also implementing the system with drug testing laboratories, which will collect data on adverse drug reactions as part of a monitoring plan to align with international practices, says. The move is part of a strengthened effort by the government to crack down on counterfeit, sub-standard and falsified drugs. An audit by the World Health Organization is expected in the first half of 2018, which will assess the quality standards of the Central Drug Testing Lab in Karachi.

India launches fish adulteration kit

India’s Central Institute of Fisheries Technology has developed a rapid detection kit for adulterants in fresh fish, including ammonia and formaldehyde, which are illegally used to improve the shelf life of fresh fish, RuralMarketing reports. The kits consist of simple paper strips, reagent solution and a standard chart for comparing results. There have been several reports in the past that India’s domestic fish market has the dirty secret of selling formaldehyde-adulterated fish, especially in more inland areas. Under Indian and international regulations, fresh fish should only be preserved using ice.

Mace moves to authenticate its products

Pepper spray manufacturer Mace is cracking down on fakes, it has announced in a statement. The company has created an authenticity seal to differentiate its products from counterfeits, which will be applied to all packaging and product literature. The company hopes the seal will stop consumer confusion when shopping for Mace brand products. In addition, the company is working with authorised retailers, including Amazon and eBay, to remove products that infringe its trademarks.

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