Re: Crackdown on counterfeiters
Chinese Guitar Counterfeiters Jailed
FOLLOWING MORE THAN A YEAR of coordination and investigation by Chinese legal authorities, efforts of the Electric Guitar Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition (EGACC) have helped lead to a criminal sentence for a major distributor of counterfeit guitars. In a growing effort to protect their consumers and authorized dealer networks, four of the best-known names in the musical instrument business, Fender, Gretsch, Ibanez, and Paul Reed Smith, originally joined forces in March 2008 to form the EGACC. Working with the international intellectual-property and antitrust law firm Baker and McKenzie, the four guitar manufacturers successfully petitioned the Chinese government for law enforcement assistance in support of their nation's intellectual property laws against counterfeiting.
The EGACC lodged complaints with Xuanwu District Public Security Bureau (PSB) in Beijing, China, regarding the activities of two Chinese companies. Following several months of intensive investigations, simultaneous raids were launched on November 26, 2008, against the warehouse and retail operations of Musoland and Paylessguitar in Beijing. Both companies were found to be engaged in the distribution and sale of counterfeit guitars through several websites targeting overseas consumers. During the operation, the PSB seized more than 1,200 counterfeit guitars and other musical instruments bearing all four EGACC group member brands and those of several other electric guitar makers.
On May 6, 2009, the individual responsible for the counterfeit distribution ring, Li Dan, was sentenced to three years in prison by the Xuanwa District Court in Beijing, China. The sentencing court based its findings on a substantial amount of evidence uncovered and provided to police authorities by the EGACC and its agents, including testimonial evidence, intercepted shipping records between the distributor and its suppliers, and records of sales made through the websites. In rejecting a plea by the defendant for probation, the court said that a prison sentence was justified by, among other things, the "harm to society" caused by the distributor's actions.
Darrell Prescott, a representative of the EGACC and spokesperson for Baker & McKenzie, stated, "These follow-up actions by the Chinese authorities should make it abundantly clear to those who traffic counterfeit guitar products that they will pay a heavy price for their actions. While this case has now been successfully closed, continued vigilance is required and the EGACC will continue to take swift, decisive action against this type of illegal activity in the future. EGACC group members are grateful for the cooperation of the PSB, and other People's Republic of China (PRC) enforcement authorities, including the Xuanwu Administration for Industry & Commerce, for their successful law enforcement actions. The EGACC group members look forward to working closely with these and other government enforcement authorities on future actions in the PRC and elsewhere."