In a European union
case ruling, McDonald’s Corp has lost its rights to the trademark “Big Mac” in
favor of the Ireland-based fast-food chain Supermac’s.
Supermac said it had never had a
product called “Big Mac,” suggesting McDonald’s had used the similarity of the
two names to block the Irish chain’s expansion.
McDonald’s registration of the trademark, saying that the world’s largest
fast-food chain had not proven genuine use of it over the five years prior to
the case being lodged in 2017. The ruling
allows other companies as well as McDonald’s to use the “Big Mac” name in the
Supermac was founded by Pat McDonagh who earned the nickname Supermac as an Irish
teenager in the late 1960s when he guided his school to a football victory over
St. Gerald’s, a more fancied team. He opened the first Supermac in Ballinasloe,
a town in county Galway, in 1978. The company now has 106 outlets across Ireland
and Northern Ireland.
Operation Pangea is a yearly operation involving many countries and law enforcement agencies which cooperate in a one week operation targeting online rogue pharmacies.
October 9-16, 116 countries combined forces to combat the problem of online
rogue pharmacies in Operation Pangea XI. The results were staggering and
include: 859 arrests and the seizure of 500 tons of illicit pharmaceuticals
worth an estimated $14 million. The pharmaceuticals included: anti-inflammatory
medication, painkillers, slimming pills and medicines for HIV, Parkinson’s,
erectile dysfunction, anabolic steroids and diabetes.
than 110,000 medical devices including syringes, contact lenses, hearing aids
and surgical instruments were seized. Also seized were counterfeit
medical devices included 737 expired cardiac surgery instruments smuggled into
the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations (OCI) special agents initiated several
criminal investigations and took down more than 450 domain names including http://www.nextdaypills.com,
http:www.top-meds-discounts.com and http://www.bestgenericstores.com.
In all, 3,671 web links were closed down including websites, social media pages
and online marketplaces.
On January 31, Twenty-one members of the trade group, the Partnership for Safe Medicines, based in San Francisco, hosted congressional briefings to allow victims of fake medicines and their families to tell their stories in Washington.
Also speaking were retired law enforcement officers representing the DEA and the National Sheriffs’ Association who spoke of the dangers from counterfeit drugs in their jurisdictions and efforts to combat them. Javier Peña and Steve Murphy, retired DEA agents portrayed in the Netflix series NARCOS, spoke about their experiences with drug cartels, counterfeits and opioids on a panel with former Assistant United States Attorney Samuel J. Louis and former Canadian Border Patrol agent Don Bell.
In November, 2018 Chinese police seized more than a half million boxes of fake condums worth $7 million. The fakes were sold to hotels, supermarkets and vending machines and were sold in Henan and Hubei provinces. Packaged as Durex and Okamoto (a Japanese condom manufacturer), as well as Chinese brands Jissbon and SixSex, unsuspecting purchasers would have been easily duped by the fake branding
Condums are one of the most widely counterfeited products in China along with various fashion products and have become a nationwide black market.
To make counterfeit condums all that is required is unprocessed condoms, silicone oil and packaging. All three can be easily acquired. the production of condoms requires strict registration and production qualifications—but much depends on provincial food and drug administrations to authorize licenses.
from the National Health and Family Planning Commission show that tens of
millions of counterfeit condoms go into the market via different channels.
In Western Society if a consumer purchases a product he suspects is counterfeit his only resource is to contact the manufacturer for verification. The situation is different in China which has appraisal centers for verification.
The China Electronic Commerce Association established an official luxury brand appraisal center in March, 2017 to assist shoppers who can submit a product they suspect is fake for an appraisal. This is the only state-owned service of its kind in China, however, there are many other appraisal centers, including independent appraisal centers, in-house appraisal centers and artificial intelligence appraisals.
Product counterfeiting in China is an immense problem due to the size of the population and because China is the world’s second largest luxury market behind the U.S., with luxury goods sales reaching $78 billion or 21% of the world market, and with many purchases done online on sites like Alibaba’s Taoboa and Tmall. The counterfeit products are a problem not only for the consumer but also for the brand owner.
Meeting the growing demand for skilled appraisers is a problem. It takes 4 to 5 years to become a skilled independent appraiser because of the training and skill in product and trademark recognition, as well as in the use of sophisticated technology and also hands-on experience. Unfortunately, many training courses are not professionally run and provide little qualifications for trainees besides theoretical knowledge.
Many of the fakes are available on the Internet. In July 2017, The U.S. Toy Industry Association sent a letter to the Senate Finance Committee in response to a Committee Hearing in March related to protecting e-commerce consumers from fake toys. The industry group’s IP Protection Committee works closely with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)—as well as representatives from Alibaba and Amazon to explore solutions to the problem.
ToyFair 2018 held in England showed a decrease in toy sales of nearly 3% for 2017caused in large part by counterfeits. According the British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA), the counterfeit toys came primarily from China and the volume was so great that Trading Standards seized tens of thousands of toys every month.
3.5 million fake toys were seized by EU Customs officials in 2017. The retail value amounted to over 21 million euros. Toys represented 11% of counterfeit goods detained at EU borders in 2017.
Haggling in Beijing’s Silk Market, a notorious location for counterfeits goods, is a culture shock for Westerners who may be more familiar with buying fakes on Canal Street in New York City’s Chinatown. This YouTube video showing a Westerner haggling with a saleswoman at Beijing’s Silk Market has about 18 million viewers to date and may be prompted by the on-going trade war between China and the United States.