Finding solutions to prevent fake goods, goods infringing intellectual property rights

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The conference. Photo: Quang Hung

Diversity of counterfeit goods and goods infrining intellectual property rights

On the morning of June 14, the Standing Office of the National Steering Committee 389 coordinated with the Vietnam Directorate of Market Surveillance and the Hanoi Steering Committee 389 to organize a workshop on "Combating counterfeit goods and goods infringing intellectual property rights in e-commerce and traditional commerce - Current situation and solutions".

According to the report of the Standing Office of the National Steering Committee 389, in 2023, ministries, central and local agencies handled 146,678 cases, including 11,499 cases of trading and transporting prohibited and smuggled goods (down 3.37% compared to 2022); 129,713 cases of commercial fraud and tax fraud (up 4.51% over the same period in 2022).

Only violations related to production, business, and trading of counterfeit goods and goods infringing intellectual property rights alone accounted 5,464 cases, an increase of 48%, this is an alarming number of legal violations in commercial activities.

Sharing at the conference, the representative of the Standing Office of the National Steering Committee 389 said that the import, production, and trading of counterfeit goods and goods infringing intellectual property rights are often very tightly and secretively organized as a closed circle from supplier to consumer. The methods and tricks of the smugglers were using modern equipment and technology to commit illegal acts in commercial activities.

Smuggled goods from across the border were organized in lines, operating in many border areas and border gates, smugglers hired local citizens to carry them across border or took advantages of weather, darkness, or terrain features, used appropriate vehicles to transport goods across rivers, streams, border crossings. This activity still takes place at some border gates in the Central and Southwestern provinces, the main products are cigarettes, cosmetics, foreign wine, fashion, and nutrition food.

At the border gate and seaport areas, the smugglers mixed counterfeit goods with legal imported goods and brought them into the inland in large quantities and diverse product groups, mainly fashion (clothes, wallets, shoes, sandals, belts, jewelry), household goods, cosmetics, agricultural supplies, construction supplies, confectionery, beverages, functional foods, electronic accessories, phones, and motorbike accessories…

Hundreds of products from famous brands are displayed at the fake-real goods showroom on the sidelines of the conference. Photo: Quang Hung

Domestically, the gathering of counterfeit goods and goods infringing intellectual property rights is not fixed at a specific location, and is even camouflaged to distract the attention of the competent forces. Those who trade directly, store goods in small quantities, take advantage of apartments and houses to hide goods, making it difficult for the authorities to carry out inspections.

For the production of counterfeit goods and goods infringing on intellectual property rights, subjects often take advantage of warehouse locations and deserted yards with few passersby, organized in a strict, secret and closed manner, with limited number of participants to distract the attention of the community, as well as the authorities.

In addition, the production of counterfeit goods and goods infringing intellectual property rights is carried out according to stages and orders when traders have a need. In particular, some entities only receive one-time orders in large quantities, and after completing the order, they close the production facility.

Along with that, the subjects also built fake websites to sell fake goods to increase consumer confidence when supplying fake goods, goods infringing on intellectual property rights as well as bypassing the authorities.

In the process of selling, the subjects often change their phone number information, social network accounts, personal information, and especially the bank account that is not the owner of the selling subject, all of the above tricks are all aimed at avoiding monitoring and handling by authorities.

Identifying e-commerce sellers

Sharing with reporters on the sidelines of the conference, Mr. Pham Duc Thang, Director of Thang Pham and Associates Law Firm (Hermes brand representative) affirmed that Hermes does not sell through e-commerce platforms.

“Every year, Hermes has to bear a lot of costs in investigating and coordinating with enforcement agencies to fight against counterfeit goods and IP-infringing goods on the Vietnamese market. On average, each year Hermes coordinates with Customs, Market Management and Police forces to handle about 900 violations. Most recently, Hermes received compensation from a criminal case handled by the People's Court of Thanh Hoa province," Mr. Pham Duc Thang emphasized.

Along with other brands, the production and trading activities of counterfeit goods will affect the reputation and prestige of the brand, change consumers' perception of the quality of the product, especially Hermes products have high quality requirements.

Mr. Pham Duc Thang cited that Hermes handbags are 100% hand-stitched by craftsmen, so when consumers encounter a counterfeit product of inadequate quality, it will affect the reputation of the brand reputation, greatly influencing the brand, especially genuine investors in Vietnam.

Mr. Pham Duc Thang said that administrative handling is only a very small amount compared to the profits from counterfeit goods business, it is necessary to take heavier measures, especially in criminal cases and not be lenient with subjects producing and trading counterfeit goods. Besides, there needs to be clear regulations for this type of e-commerce business, binding responsibilities between sellers and buyers.

According to Mr. Phan Van Nhat, Chairman of Vietnam Anti-Counterfeiting and Intellectual Property Protection Association of Foreign-Invested Enterprises (VACIP), currently some countries have applied the identification of sellers through e-commerce because it is very difficult to detect who and where the seller is... For example, if a person uses a personal identification number to register an account on e-commerce platforms, if they are engaged in selling counterfeit goods, the trading floor will be immediately locked and the violation will not be performed.

“There needs to be coordination between right holders, enforcement agencies, and e-commerce platforms to assess the scale, source of goods, warehouse, production location... of counterfeit goods, goods infringing intellectual property rights to focus on handling," Mr. Phan Van Nhat added.

By Quang Hung/ Huyen Trang

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