The U.S. Golf Manufacturers Anti-Counterfeiting Working Group (comprised of Acushnet Company, Callaway Golf, Cleveland Golf, Nike Golf, PING and TaylorMade Golf Company) has continued its aggressive enforcement against pirate facilities in the People’s Republic of China.
In the latest series of raids, four factories and three warehouses involved in the production and distribution of counterfeit golf clubs and equipment in Guangdong province were raided by Chinese law enforcement authorities after requests by the U.S. Golf Manufacturers Anti-Counterfeiting Working Group. Molds and machinery used to make counterfeit golf clubs along with more than 16,000 items of counterfeit golf equipment valued at an estimated USD $3 million were seized from the seven raid locations. Counterfeit products included golf clubs, shafts, club heads, golf bags and apparel.
Over 50 PRC enforcement officials took part in the three-day operation targeting manufacturing entities located in Dongguan, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. The raids resulted in the largest seizure to date of molds and other tooling equipment used in the manufacture of counterfeit golf equipment.
At a factory in Qingyuan City, the Chinese authorities seized over 300 sets of molds. The value of the confiscated molds was estimated to be in excess of US$300,000. The seizure of the molds was significant because one golf club head mold can be used to make thousands of counterfeit golf club heads. Chinese officials also seized production machinery and equipment from workshops located inside the factories and sealed access to several manufacturing buildings.
Loo Shih Yann, a principal with the international law firm of Baker and McKenzie who is coordinating efforts on behalf of the U.S. Golf Manufacturers Anti-Counterfeiting Working Group in China explained that the seizure of production equipment by the enforcement authorities represents a significant blow to the ability of these counterfeit golf factories to continue operations. It also showed a greater willingness by the Chinese authorities to impose tougher sanctions as previously only products were seized. The Working Group will also be working with the Chinese authorities to pursue criminal prosecution of those responsible for production and distribution.
Rob Duncanson, an attorney representing the U.S. Golf Manufacturers Anti- Counterfeiting Working Group in the United States commented that “the Working Group is very pleased and encouraged by the results of these recent raids. Progress is being made in the fight against counterfeiting, however counterfeiting remains a very serious problem. Golf Working Group representatives are committed to taking all appropriate steps to enforce intellectual property rights in China and will continue to assist the U.S. and Chinese governments in their respective efforts to protect consumers and brand owners.”