The U.S. Golf Manufacturers Anti- Counterfeiting Working Group (comprised of Acushnet Company — Titleist, FootJoy and Cobra Golf; Callaway Golf — Odyssey, Top-Flite, and Ben Hogan; Cleveland Golf-Never Compromise; Nike; PING; and TaylorMade-adidas Golf) announced a record seizure of thousands of counterfeit golf products as a result of multiple raids in Shanghai and Shenzhen conducted by China’s enforcement authorities at the end of December, 2005.
The raid actions, which targeted both factory and retail outlets in Shanghai in the east and Shenzhen in the south of China, resulted in a seizure of thousands of counterfeit golf products including clubs, bags, balls, gloves and clothing.
In Shanghai, a joint enforcement action involving officials from the Department for Administration of Industry and Commerce (AIC) and police officers from the Public Security Bureau (PSB) raided two retailers of counterfeit golf clubs and equipment. The raid netted hundreds of counterfeit golf clubs including well known brands including Callaway, Cleveland, Nike, Odyssey, PING, TaylorMade and Titleist.
In Shenzhen, petitioning by the US Golf Industry Group to the local Shenzhen government led to a two day operation involving raids against an assembly factory of counterfeit golf clubs and retailers of counterfeit golf equipment located in Shenzhen’s infamous Lowu shopping mall — a notorious centre for counterfeit products.
The raids organized by the Shenzhen Government Anti-Counterfeiting office of the Chinese government consisted of enforcement officers drawn from the PSB, AIC and Technical Standard Bureau. This was the first time that a joint task force was used in the Shenzhen operation against counterfeit golf products. It was estimated that over 1,000 counterfeit golf clubs and accessories were seized in the two day operation. The value of the fakes confiscated exceeded US$500,000.
Loo Shih Yann, a principal with the international law firm of Baker and McKenzie who is coordinating efforts on behalf of the US Golf Industry Group, said he welcomed the positive action by the Chinese enforcement authorities but stressed that more needs to be done in order to get the counterfeit golf equipment problem in China under control. The actions of the police in Shanghai in pro-actively cracking down are encouraging but Loo noted that the management and landlord of the Lowu shopping mall could be doing more to ensure that tenants do not break the law by using premises to stock and sell counterfeits. If the management of the mall fails to address the problem, they could be held jointly liable with the counterfeiters and this is an area that the Golf Industry Group will be looking to address.