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CHINESE GOVERNMENT RAIDS FIVE GOLF EQUIPMENT COUNTERFEITERS

Authorities Arrest Six Individuals. Criminal Prosecution Expected.

Jiangmen, Putian and Xiamen, China (July 28, 2004) - Chinese anti-counterfeiting enforcement authorities conducted a series of simultaneous raids at 5 different manufacturing locations of counterfeit golf clubs and equipment in Jiangmen, Putian and Xiamen, China on July 14, 2004.  Three raided locations, consisting of a foundry, polishing factory and assembly facility, were located in Jiangmen.  A foundry in Putian City and an assembly operation in Xiamen were raided as well.  Six persons were arrested in connection with these raids, including owners and management of these facilities.  Criminal prosecutions are expected.

The government raids took place after six American golf equipment manufacturers filed complaints with Chinese anti-counterfeiting enforcement authorities.   Agents encountered and seized substantial amounts of counterfeit golf equipment, manufacturing molds and related equipment at these locations.  Preliminary estimates are that 31,000 pieces of counterfeit golf clubs in various states of production, 9,300 grips and 2,000 shafts were seized.  In addition, about 5,000 additional trademark representations and several counterfeit golf bags were seized.  Most importantly, 84 sets of molds for making counterfeit golf clubs and grips were confiscated, in addition to other manufacturing equipment. 

Copies of clubs and equipment manufactured by Acushnet Company (Titleist and Cobra Golf), Callaway Golf (Odyssey and Ben Hogan), Cleveland Golf, Nike, Ping and TaylorMade-adidas Golf and other manufacturers were observed.  The estimated value of the seized goods is more than $1,000,000.

“These raids were significant not just because of the large amounts of inventory that have been confiscated,” said Rob Duncanson, an attorney coordinating anti-counterfeiting efforts in China on behalf of the listed manufacturers.  “While most previous seizures effected by the joint China efforts of the major American golf equipment manufacturers were primarily finished goods seized from retailers or distributors, these raids were successful in seizing significant amounts of counterfeit golf club manufacturing equipment, reducing the capacity that is immediately available for making more counterfeits.  It may be difficult to replace the molds and other equipment that have been taken out of service.”  In addition, he observed that six people have been arrested and placed into custody in connection with this operation.  “Hopefully, this strong position taken by the Chinese intellectual property enforcement authorities will serve as a deterrent to those who seek to profit from producing counterfeit golf products,” commented Duncanson.

The anti-counterfeiting efforts of the major United States golf equipment manufacturers in connection with significant support from Chinese authorities and the United States Customs Service continue to generate successes in fighting the counterfeiting problem at its source in China.  In May, 2004, the industry participated in a simultaneous joint raid of 11 retailers in Shanghai.  Recent reports indicate that most of these retailers of counterfeit products are no longer operating.  “By continuing to leverage their collective efforts, these manufacturers are working to ensure that these low quality counterfeit golf clubs are no longer available to deceive the golfing public,” stated Duncanson.

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