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More Cases of Fake Brands Uncovered

The Shanghai Industrial and Commercial Administrative Bureau said it uncovered 722 cases of fake trademarks last year.

They included 214 that involved counterfeiting, up 65 percent from the year 2000, while the number of cases involving the sale of counterfeit products fell 17 percent to 483.

Officials attributed the surge in counterfeiting prosecutions to better enforcement at the grass roots. The bureau has also set up roughly 2,400 complaint centers in 95 percent of neighborhoods, they added.

"Local residents are actively reporting on underground factories since most of them are hidden in residential areas," said Xing Dongsheng, director of the bureau's trademark supervisory division. "With the help of local residents, counterfeiters will find that they have nowhere to hide their illegal factories."

The sale of counterfeits is decreasing, officials said, because bureau officers have trained managers of 1,227 supermarkets and department stores and independent merchants in stocking and selling genuine goods by following local rules on the circulation of commodities, said bureau spokesman Gong Shangxuan.

The newly revised Trademark Law, which went into effect on December 1, also gives bureau officers more leeway in punishing the sellers of counterfeit products, Gong said.

The law stipulates that officers can confiscate and destroy fake goods and inspect financial records. Previously, officers could only tear off the fake trademarks and then return the bogus products.

Under the law, those who sell counterfeit products, whether intentionally or not, will be deemed lawbreakers. If the amount of money involved cannot be determined with precision, counterfeiters will be fined as much as 500,000 yuan (US$60,240).

Official statistics show that fines totaling 7.37 million yuan(US$891,539) were imposed last year.

Foreign trademarks also were protected, officials said. One hundred twenty-four cases involving foreign trademarks were detected last year. They involved Polo Silver, Philips, Ericsson, Santana and Nike, Gong said.

For instance, Shanghai Hongjie Garment Co. Ltd. was slapped a fine of 100,000 yuan for violating the trademark of Polo Silver.

(eastday.com January 14, 2002)

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