Auction site helps government combat online counterfeit sales

Taiwan

Taiwan's largest online auctioneer, Yahoo-Kimo Inc, has cancelled the accounts of three of its sellers, who were once rated as "excellent", after the government's Criminal Investigation Bureau confirmed that they were selling knockoffs of products manufactured by the UK label Burberry.

Although Yahoo-Kimo stated that it only has the authority to cancel the accounts of sellers of counterfeit goods, the government has vowed to take further action. Director-General of the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) Jack Lu has stated that in addition to enforcing IP rights on Taiwan's streets and night markets, this year the IPO intends to crack down on the sale of counterfeit goods over the Internet. The IPO has reportedly assigned 30 members of its 220-member IP rights taskforce to a special internet crime team and plans to add 30 more officers to that team later this year. In addition, the IPO is working with members of the European Chamber of Commerce Taipei, to learn how to identify counterfeit goods. The IPO is also running a series of workshops to help train police and prosecutors.

According to the government's Institute for the Information Industry, about $610 million worth of goods were sold online in Taiwan last year, an increase of more than 35% from the previous year. Yahoo-Kimo estimates that its site alone handled $300 million in transactions last year, a five-fold increase from the year before. It is unknown what percent of those sales involved counterfeit goods, although authorities estimate that it may have been substantial.

Christopher Neumeyer, Shay & Partners, Taipei

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