Friday, September 3, 2010

What's New in Counterfeit Imports?

When people mention counterfeit goods, items such as Rolex watches, Gucci handbags, Nike apparel, CDs and other software come to mind. So, what is the latest trend in counterfeiting? Exercise Equipment. Why would someone want to counterfeit exercise equipment? How would a purchaser or user know the equipment was counterfeit? CBP states that counterfeit equipment may be manufactured overseas using inferior design and construction, and may contain substandard components, which could lead to pulled muscles and various other injuries. Counterfeited fitness products range from DVDs, to gym equipment and some of the products seen on infomercials. CBP notes that the AB Circle, Bowflex and P90X are the most frequent target for infringement.

In fiscal year 2009, CBP made 26 seizures related to counterfeit exercise equipment with a domestic value of approximately 834,000. In just the first five months of FY2010, CBP made 57 seizures with a domestic value of over $2 million. CBP indicates that counterfeit goods are commonly sold on eBay and Craigslist CBP encourages consumers to take a close look before purchasing or using exercise equipment and provided the following helpful hints.

· Consider the method of sale –check the manufacturer’s website for authorized retail outlets and/or websites. New equipment sold on eBay or Craigslist at a price significantly lower than the MSRP may raise a red flag.

· Look for a warranty – most reputable manufacturers provide warranties.

· Inspect the packaging – most genuine fitness products include nutritional guides and instructional manuals. Counterfeited goods may be missing instruction manuals or the manuals are poorly written.

You can find information about various products registered for protection by CBP by searching the
Intellectual Property Rights Search (IPRS) database. For example, typing in “fitness” in the keyword block yields 71 results. For additional information about protection of intellectual property and trends in counterfeit goods, check out the following resources.

CBP – Intellectual Property Rights

Lynn Hollinger. (2010). Dangerous New Trend in Counterfeit Imports: Inferior, Dangerous Fitness Equipment. Frontline , pp. 13-14.

No comments: