Seen and heard: counterfeiting news in brief

Counterfeit electronics, more fakes on Amazon, toys in court, China’s counterfeit reputation, fake drugs in Ireland, and an example that crime doesn’t pay.

Arrest over trafficking fake electronic components

A California man has been arrested for selling counterfeit electronic components, including integrated circuits, some of which may have ended up in the US military. Rogelio Vasquez has been accused of acquiring old, used and/or discarded integrated circuits from Chinese suppliers and remarking the components with counterfeit logos, altered date codes and false country of origin, according to Vasquez, also known as James Harrison, is alleged to have sold the units as new as manufactured by Xilinx, Analog Devices an Intel. The 30-count indictment includes nine counts of wire fraud, 20 counts of trafficking in counterfeit goods and one count of trafficking in counterfeit military goods. If found guilty, Vasquez could face up to 20 years in prison. 

Guardian investigation finds fakes on Amazon

A Guardian investigation has found that Amazon is “rife” with potentially dangerous counterfeit goods. The newspaper made an order through Amazon’s Marketplace, which allows third parties to sell direct to consumers, and received fake Apple AirPods, mislabelled Apple iPhone chargers, a fake Louis Vuitton iPhone case and counterfeit Kylie Jenner lip gloss. Some of the items were sold through the Fulfilled by Amazon service. The investigation follows the release of the e-commerce site’s first quarter profits where daily revenues were £400 million a day. The Guardian noted that Amazon’s Marketplace accounts for about 20 per cent of Amazon’s total income. Amazon tells us that it quickly investigates reports of suspected infringement, and encourages brandowners to join its Brand Registry scheme to help protect intellectual property. Companies in that scheme report fewer suspected infringements, it says, claiming it takes action on 95 per cent of notices of potential infringement for participating brands within eight hours.

Toy manufacturer wins pay out over counterfeits

American toy manufacturer MGA Entertainment has won a $1.2m judgment and a permanent injunction against 81 manufacturers of counterfeit L.O.L Surprise! Dolls, San Fernando Valley Business Journal reports. The fake toys were sold on Chinese e-commerce sites including Alibaba, Aliexpress and The ruling follows a preliminary judgement last year and a temporary restraining order against the manufacturers in February. The company said it would continue to “stop at nothing to prosecute any and all counterfeiters to the fullest extent of the law”.  

China worries about counterfeit reputation in Africa

China is on the attack to address its reputation as the counterfeit capital of the world by asking African authorities to tighten security at their countries’ entry points in a bid to stop fake goods flooding the African market, according to Citing Dai Bing, director general of the department of African affairs at the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the publication said the Chinese government was concerned the widespread illicit activity in Africa was seen to be supported by the Chinese government and that this belief would “gravely tarnish” the Chinese image. Dai said the governments of all countries needed to work together to address the problem and called on African states to take stricter measures to combat the import of substandard and fake goods.

Ireland sees increase in fake drugs

There has been a 40 per cent increase in the amount of counterfeit and illegal medications seized in Ireland, with almost one million doses taken in last year, RTE reports from the Irish Pharmacy Union annual conference. The rise in the illicit drugs, half of which were steroids, was blamed on the internet and the ease of accessing the drugs online.    

Counterfeiters forced to repay almost £400,000 in profits

Two British men who were sentenced to nine years in prison nearly two years ago for selling counterfeit computer game consoles have now been ordered to repay almost £400,000 each under the Proceeds of Crime Act. The men – Aamer Ali and Naveed Zaman – flogged fake Sony PlayStation Dual Shock controllers and Nintendo DS game consoles online and laundered money through eBay and PayPal. The duo have three months to repay the money in full or else they will each receive an additional four years in prison, The Huddersfield Daily Examiner reports.

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