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Record Number of Fake Golf Products Nabbed by Anti-Counterfeiting Group
The U.S. Golf Manufacturers Anti-Counterfeiting Working Group announced today that it seized more than 95,000 counterfeit golf products in 2011, nearly four times the amount seized in the previous year. The significant increase demonstrates the group's improved ability to cooperate with law enforcement agencies around the world to identify and eliminate counterfeit operations.
In addition to raids and seizures, 2011 saw the group launch an educational website which provided visitors with information on how to avoid purchasing counterfeit clubs. The Golf Group also took considerable legal actions against counterfeiters in China and the U.S., including successfully securing a court order to shut down a number of websites allegedly selling counterfeit clubs.
"The Golf Group remains committed to shutting down as many counterfeit operations as it possibly can," said Don Reino, Vice President of Legal Operations for Cleveland Golf. "The Golf Group's cooperative efforts, in combination with the continued support of Chinese law enforcement agencies, allowed us to send an even stronger message to counterfeiters around the world last year."
The Golf Group capped off 2011 with two raids, one in Shanghai and one in Huizhou City, which led to the confiscation of more than 7,000 fake clubs and over 8,000 combined counterfeit golf products. During the raid on December 15 in Huizhou City, the Golf Group worked with local law enforcement to raid an operation resulting in more than 7,000 counterfeit golf products being seized at a total value of more than $100,000. Four days later on December 19 in Shanghai, another site was raided and found more than 1,000 fake products.
"Our success this year goes beyond the numbers," said Michael Rider, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Callaway. "We stopped the production of a large number of fake clubs, but we also successfully launched an educational campaign with our Golf Group website. Through that, we've given thousands of people tips on how to avoid counterfeit purchases. That is as great of an accomplishment as any of the raids we conducted."
The group launched the website www.keepgolfreal.com in July 2011. In that time, it has received thousands of visitors from around the world. The group intends to continue its educational efforts in 2012.
In November, the group was awarded a preliminary injunction by a South Florida District Court, which shut down 62 websites believed to be selling counterfeit golf products. Visitors to the sites were redirected to web pages outlining the group's legal actions. The group was also successful in winning a number of court battles in China. In August, two counterfeiters were convicted of selling thousands of golf products from 2006 to 2010. As a result, they were sentenced to prison, probation and monetary fines. The group continues to pursue opportunities for legal actions both in the U.S. and abroad.
About the Golf Manufacturers Anti-Counterfeiting Working Group
The Golf Anti-Counterfeiting Group consists of five of the most well-known golf companies in the world - Callaway-Odyssey, Top-Flite and Ben Hogan; TaylorMade-adidas Golf and Ashworth; PING; Cleveland Golf, Srixon and Never Compromise; and Acushnet Company whose brands are Titleist, FootJoy and Scotty Cameron. Since 2004, the Golf Anti-Counterfeiting Group has worked with international law enforcement and government agencies to conduct raids and investigations of counterfeit operations, as well as raise public awareness of the issue.