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Eight Golf Equipment Counterfeiters Sentenced to Prison Terms in Beijing


The U.S. Golf Manufacturers Anti-Counterfeiting Working Group (the "Group") comprised of Acushnet Company, Callaway Golf, Cleveland Golf/Srixon, Nike Golf, PING and TaylorMade Golf Company reports that the Beijing Chaoyang District People's Court has sentenced eight persons to serve prison terms ranging from one to four years and pay fines totaling several thousand dollars after being convicted of counterfeiting registered trademarks and manufacturing, distributing and selling counterfeit golf equipment.

The two principal defendants, Tian Yu and Tian Zhongyi, will serve four year and three year prison terms, respectively. According to Wan Hui Da, the law firm representing the Group, these sentences are considered very severe penalties for intellectual property-related crimes in China. The defendants will not appeal the decisions.

The Court convicted and sentenced the defendants based upon evidence secured during raids conducted earlier this year in villages located in the Chaoyang District of Beijing. On March 24, 2009 the Beijing Chaoyang Administration for Industry and Commerce ("AIC") and the Chaoyang Public Security Bureau ("PSB") jointly conducted raids against an assembly and warehouse facility associated with the Sunshine Golf Store in Beijing.

Several persons were arrested by the PSB after the raids. Nearly 10,000 pieces of counterfeit golf equipment were seized, including more than 740 assembled golf clubs, 1,500 club heads, 4,700 golf grips, 2,300 shafts, 280 club head covers and assorted golf towels, golf bags and apparel.

This extensive enforcement action was conducted after complaints were filed with the respective local AIC and PSB agencies by the U.S. Golf Manufacturers Anti-Counterfeiting Working Group. The seized goods were illegal copies of authentic products made by all six of the Group's members.

The Group was formed in 2004 to petition governments to enforce their country's laws against counterfeiters of golf equipment products. As a result of the Group's petitioning efforts, dozens of successful raids of manufacturing, warehouse, assembly and retail facilities have been executed by Chinese law enforcement and civil enforcement authorities over the past five years.

The U.S. Golf Manufacturers Anti-Counterfeiting Working Group consists of the worlds' leading golf equipment manufacturers. Its members and brands include Acushnet Company - Titleist, FootJoy and Cobra Golf; Callaway Golf - Odyssey, Top-Flite and Ben Hogan; Cleveland Golf/Srixon; Nike Golf; PING; and TaylorMade-adidas Golf and Ashworth.