'Dragon Boat' action leads to significant seizures


The Hangzhou Customs has seized sportswear suspected to be adidas and Lacoste counterfeits which were about to be shipped by post from China. This was reportedly the 36th seizure carried out by Hangzhou Customs since October 2007, adding to the 200,000 pieces of counterfeit Chanel, Nike and Rolex items already seized.

It was further reported that the Fuzhou Customs made 65 seizures in October 2007, detaining over 250,000 items, including counterfeit cigarettes, VCDs, watches and runners which were also due to be shipped out of the country by post.

The Hangzhou and Fuzhou seizures resulted from increased scrutiny by the Customs authorities of shipments by parcel and express post to the United States, the European Union, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates. The seizures are part of a nationwide IP protection effort called the 'Dragon Boat' action, which was initiated by the General Administration of Customs.

The action commenced on October 1 2007 and is due to end on March 31 2008. The general administration has reported an average of 14 seizures per day in the country during the first month of the action, a 57% increase over the same period in 2006. Further, the Shenzhen Customs, acting on complaints by IP rights owners, investigated over 10 infringement cases in October 2007, which represented a 100% increase over the same period last year.

The Customs' actions target both exports and imports. Shippers will be rated in terms of trustworthiness and future shipments by identified subjects will be monitored accordingly.

Yvonne Chua and Lau Pui Har, Wilkinson & Grist, Hong Kong

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