Two Arrested for Counterfeiting After Investigation By Acushnet Company and Cleveland Golf
For Immediate Release
Contact: Joe Gomes, Director of Communications
Acushnet Company (508) 979.3211
Fairhaven, MA, (December 21, 2007) – Following a raid in Plano, Texas on Friday December 14, two men were arrested and charged with felony trademark counterfeiting. A six-month investigation by the Texas Rangers and Frisco Police Department, in cooperation with the Acushnet Company, Cleveland Golf, and Eaton Corp., resulted in allegations that Ronald Grunwald and Norman Millender operated an Internet-based site that sold fake brand-name golf clubs.
It is the second time in as many weeks that the Acushnet Company, which is comprised of the Titleist, FootJoy, and Cobra golf equipment brands, played an integral role in the breaking of an alleged major counterfeit operation by working with the local authorities. Last week, two people were arrested in North Carolina for selling counterfeit golf accessories on-line.
“We will continue to work vigorously with other golf manufacturers and law enforcement to send a clear message to those who profit from the selling and manufacturing of counterfeit goods,” said Lisa Rogan, Acushnet Company Trademark Manager. “Counterfeit golf equipment has been on the rise, and we have made a serious commitment to protect our brands and intellectual property. We are grateful to the Texas Rangers and Frisco Police Department for their cooperation in this case.”
According to Steve Gingrich, Vice President of Global Operations for Cleveland Golf, the items were being advertised on eBay as “brand new, never been used” merchandise at prices just below market value.
"The selling of counterfeit golf products is a rampant problem, especially over the Internet,” said Gingrich. “Even legitimate sites, such as eBay, fall victim to this type of criminal activity. Counterfeiting is in no way a victimless crime. The victims are the consumers.”
In this case, Acushnet and Cleveland Golf observed counterfeit Vokey Design wedges and other counterfeit golf clubs being sold on eBay and conducted an internal investigation prior to presenting the matter to the Frisco Police Department. The counterfeit Titleist, Cleveland and Golf Pride products were allegedly imported from Asia and then sold both domestically and internationally on eBay, a well-known on-line marketplace. In addition to the two arrests, law enforcement officials seized hundreds of counterfeit golf clubs, golf grips, and accessories, including goods from other golf manufacturers.
"We are pleased to cooperate with government authorities and our industry partners to help protect consumers, distributors, pro shops, and retailers from counterfeit Golf Pride product,” said Jeff Fiorini, general manager of Eaton's Golf Grip Division. “With product seizures in Texas and last week in North Carolina, we remain diligent in our efforts to combat this growing issue in the golf grip category.”
Titleist, FootJoy and Cobra comprise the major golf brands of the Acushnet Company, an operating company of Fortune Brands, Inc. (NYSE - FO). Titleist, Cobra and FootJoy are trademarks owned by Acushnet Company. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.
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