Responding to complaints from companies including Shure, Harman, Sennheiser and Audio-Technica acting to uphold their intellectual property rights, the Guangdong Public Security Department supervised a criminal investigation in September 2010 by Jiangmen City Police. The target was Enping City Meipai Electronic Audio Factory, which was suspected of selling counterfeit professional audio equipment.
After extensive investigation, the Jiangmen City Police launched a crackdown operation on October 28 by raiding the factory and three storage premises involved in the illegal activity in one strike. The Chinese police smashed a counterfeit goods syndicate of considerable size and seized more than 1,200 items of counterfeit audio equipment, including microphones, loudspeakers, power amplifiers and mixers – all marked with the trademarks owned by the above-mentioned professional audio manufacturers. The value of the seized goods exceeded RMB3.5 million and the principal suspects connected to Enping City Meipai Electronic Audio Factory were detained on the spot.
It has been established that the syndicate, operating under several companies’ names including “New Dynamics Audio Equipment Factory”, used the Internet as a platform to sell counterfeit audio equipment. By the time the large-scale police raid was conducted, online sales had already reached RMB1.8 million. On December 5, 2010, after authorization by Enping City People’s Procuratorate, the Enping City Public Security Bureau arrested four of the suspects.
The large-scale enforcement operation by the Chinese authorities effectively curbed the sale and distribution of low-quality counterfeit goods and successfully upheld the intellectual property rights of the professional audio manufacturers who joined force to combat counterfeiting.
Al Hershner, Vice President of Shure’s Americas and Asia Business Units, said: “Counterfeit products damage our entire industry. We collaborate with other highly-reputable audio manufacturers to take a strong and united stance against counterfeiters. We are deeply committed to protecting our brand and ensuring that our customers receive a genuine Shure product every time they purchase an item bearing the Shure brand. As a manufacturer, we do not want our trademark appearing on poor quality copies produced illegally, and we will pursue enforcement action in the very best interests of protecting our customers, as well as our brand. Consumers should be highly suspicious of any ‘factory direct’ deals and unreasonably low prices. Whether these offers are found at retail outlets or online, our customers need to know that if something seems too good to be true, it’s almost certainly bogus.”
“The active fight against brand and product piracy is extremely important to us in order to enable us to protect the brand and our customers and avoid the sale/purchase of counterfeit equipment. The purchase of counterfeits can be avoided by buying through our network of authorized Sennheiser retailers. This means we can ensure that our customers purchase genuine Sennheiser products and that the quality of the product is guaranteed. With this intensive crackdown in Enping, we have succeeded in a very important mission designed to protect our intellectual property and consequently, the company too," said Volker Bartels, Sennheiser’s President of Corporate Services, spokesperson of the Executive Management Board.
CEO of Harman said: “We’re very pleased to join forces with other partners across the audio industry to take actions against those counterfeit manufacturers of branded audio equipment. Unfortunately, counterfeiting is not a new issue in the audio industry or indeed in any successful global enterprise. Because our customers expect and deserve the highest level of satisfaction when purchasing HARMAN audio products, we actively monitor the counterfeit market and have processes in place to address this challenge. As part of our commitment to the integrity and quality of HARMAN technology and products, we have and continue to increase our resources to prevent potential damage to our brands and to our customers as a result of counterfeiting. Because counterfeiting is a criminal activity, we work with law enforcement agencies worldwide whenever those agencies decide to take action against those who would profit by this illegal conduct. We can’t stress enough the importance to HARMAN customers and channel partners of procuring equipment only from HARMAN authorized channels. This is a serious issue that we are diligently fighting every day to ensure our customers receive only genuine HARMAN audio products."
We are pleased at Audio-Technica of our collaboration with other major brands the action against counterfeits manufacturers and traders. This collaboration aims to safeguard the public buying genuine products. Our brand image and our successes are due to quality product and warranty services from our organization, action against product piracy is essential in order to protect the customer experience who believe very often that he is using genuine product. Visual appearance of the counterfeit products does not guarantee neither the audio quality nor the long term use; when one day the customer will realize that he/she does not have an original product, his/her disappointment will be somehow associated to our brand; this is not acceptable for Audio-Technica. Commented by Ryuji Haraguchi, Director of Audio-Technica Corporation, Japan/General Manager International Department.