Even Some Prisoners are Chinese Knockoffs

Even Some Prisoners are Chinese Knockoffs

Actual factory we busted in Guangzhou

Throughout the years in the anti-counterfeiting business there have been a few times where we, and our clients, have lauded our victories when a raid was accomplished on a factory making Chinese knockoffs.  Once, I remember, back in 2006 our client’s attorney actually saw thirteen people in handcuffs.  Chinese nationals, in China.  In cuffs for making fakes.  Not bad for a case that started with some handbags sold by a Purse Queen in Missouri!  Every time I tell that story, I finish it with the punchline that “I’m sure the cuffs came right off when my client boarded the plane.”  I’m not faulting China and that really isn’t my point here.  But the disconnect between cultures is.  There is obviously a totally different meaning of ‘authenticity’ when you cross oceans.  You may recall the incident during the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games when the seven year-old vocalist who was commissioned to sing ‘Ode to the Motherland’ was replaced by a prettier lip synching faker.  A recent Slate article reports on a whole new kind of counterfeiting: fake prisoners.  No kidding, guys.  People who are facing jail time in China can hire a less-fortunate guy to confess, or just replace him in the can.  This brings me to a whole new thought on the counterfeit enforcement business.  While diplomacy with China is important in the fight against counterfeit goods, raiding their factories and jailing their owners is probably not effective.

Even Some Prisoners are Chinese Knockoffs

Broken windows theory (courtesy of Wikipedia)

The  most important facet of my solution is to curtail the demand in the United States and other countries with a massive consumer base.  The way to do that is to enforce against all sellers of this product in those countries.  Contrary to the spirit voice in Field of Dreams, wise businessmen will tell you that supply does not dictate demand.  Stop promising your client you’re gonna get the “big factory” and focus on stopping the mid-level distributors here.  I promise your performance numbers will increase and, most important, you will help restore value and dignity to the client’s brand.  I know from great experience that many people who became huge sellers of counterfeit goods here in the United States would have stopped if they had just worn a pair of handcuffs early on.  One night in jail works wonders on the soul.  Enforcing the smaller crimes is part of the plan that makes many of our inner cities safer.  Curtailing vandalism in your neighborhood leads to less violence down the line.  In tough economic times it is easy to cut costs and focus on the biggest problems.  The problem with the latter is that no big problem started that way.  My suggestion to my readers is to simply place most of your efforts on the cities and countries with the highest retail sales of genuine product.  I’m not talking about the people selling fakes at swap meets or in the bad neighborhoods.  I’m speaking of the mid-level distributors who are getting their product directly from China and supplying those folks.

Now I’m going to finish my coffee.

Top Ten Ways to Fight IP Cybercrime

I was recently interviewed by IQPC as a preview for my IPCybercrime Boot Camp that I will be giving in conjunction with their Anti-Counterfeiting & Brand Protection conference in San Francisco in January 2012.  This will be the second time I’ve partnered with them to do a Master Class.  Last year was a great time and I’m excited to kick off the New Year with my 2012 material at their event.  Please listen to the below podcast/video for a preview of some of the topics I will discuss.  You know you want to press ‘play’.  So do it.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO

So Many Cases!

I don’t know about you, but managing my caseload on a spreadsheet would be a nightmare.  Another nightmare would be if you were not able to share case updates with colleagues in an easy fashion.  We’ve all been there but not anymore!  I have designed the ultimate case management database for Internet investigations.  I named it Case Ninja™ and partnered with a leading database company TrackVia so I could bring this amazing product to you.  This Friday I am co-presenting a free webinar to demonstrate how Case Ninja™ has helped my company track tens of thousands of cases that span over a decade  with a coupla clicks of a mouse.  Don’t miss it.  Oh.  And we’re giving away a free iPad to one lucky viewer!

Click HERE or the ninja to the right and sign up today!

Anatomy of an Idiot or: The Case of the Counterfeit Judge

Doh!

Image via Wikipedia

As I regularly search for shows on my TiVo using keywords that relate to my interests and work, I ran across a rerun of ‘Swift Justice with Nancy Grace‘ that originally aired on 2/28/11 entitled “An online rip-off; pit bull puppies”.  This was caught in my filter because the word ‘knockoff’ was in the show’s description.  In this episode, the first case was of a woman who had purchased a pair of Coach boots from a website buymerchant.com.  Upon receipt of the boots, the Plaintiff stated that she believed they were counterfeit and was entitled to a refund of $174 USD.  Whether the goods in this case were actually counterfeit is actually not even relevant to what I’m about to share.  What followed was some of the most irresponsible judiciary-slash-journalistic behavior I have ever seen.

Grace first examines the boots saying, “If these are fake, I’ll buy ‘em!  I’m all about fakes!”  She then hollers backstage, “Hey, bring me out my my ‘Frauda’!”  She giggled and looked back at the camera explaining, “My fake Prada.  I love it.”  As she brings the conversation back to the case on hand, she turns to the Plaintiff and uttered in a snarky drawl, “So… you don’t like fakes?”

After picking up my jaw from the atop my Birkenstock I witness Grace call in her ‘expert’  to authenticate the boots.  This guy’s qualifications were that he was a former employee at a Coach store.  Wait, it gets better.  As he makes his unconvincing case, Grace barks again and looks offstage, “Hey, bring me back my fake!”  Then she asks her expert to authenticate her ‘Frauda’.  He explains to her that it is counterfeit and that a real handbag of this type is of higher quality and would retail for about $1,500 USD.  Then Grace starts howling like a preacher with a bellyache with, “Fifteen… hundred… dollars?!?!?!  Do you know how long I’ve had this thing?  Five years.  That’s a good quality bag!”  Just as I did, you are probably asking if this idiot actually admitted to purchasing illegal goods, defend it and then promote the behavior from her bench on national television.  Yes.  She did.  You can witness an excerpt of the event for yourself by clicking this link here: http://www.swiftjustice.com/case_files/2011-02-28

While much of the civilized world is trying to discourage this type of contraband activity, we have a nitwit like this adjudicating cases with her own television show, and doling out legal advice on CNN.  While Nancy Grace is hosting ‘Swift Justice’, what she really needs is a swift kick in the rear end.

It’s Time To Go Mainstream!

Folks.  I have great news for the anti-counterfeiting industry.  I have recently agreed to co-produce and host a series for a major television network about counterfeiting.  This show will be like nothing you have EVER seen before.  It will be the first of its kind, allowing the public to have access to the raids, brand owners, cops, lawyers and investigators that make it their job to fight the fastest-growing crime wave.  We will be travelling city to city to be on location interviewing you right in the middle of all the action and in your offices.

The specials you have seen previously are nothing compared to what we are going to bring you.  Our goal is to make this show a network hit for many seasons.  Imagine that for our little niche!  Guys, you and I are charged with defending property that has become 47% of our economy.  It’s time to go mainstream!

Not only will we be creating a series that will be entertaining and informative, but we will be bringing the faces of our industry to the public.  That means you.  We want to show the world that we are all people trying to do a job and keep order on this planet so that our employers can continue to create the products they love so much.  If you would like to be featured on this show and/or provide content, please email me personally at rob@ipcybercrime.com.