20 billion counterfeit market is 'a joke beyond belief Counterfeit iPhones oakley sport sunglasses are among the items seized by Canada Border Services Agency under a new law aimed at curtailing knock off merchandise.
The knock offs are contained in some of the outlet oakley sunglasses 36 counterfeit shipments have been detained since the law was passed. But that number is "a joke beyond belief," says a Toronto lawyer who specializes in anti counterfeiting. Lorne Lipkus said the value of Canada's counterfeit market is likely $20 billion to $30 billion, but the country's record on fighting fake goods is among the worst in the world. "We bang our heads against the wall," he said. "Nobody can believe Canada does so little." Nobody can believe Canada does so little Counterfeit products are a growing problem in this country. Before the new law was passed in December 2014, the RCMP took the lead on seizing counterfeit goods. In 2012, the police force seized $38.1 million in fake goods, up from $7.7 million in 2005. But it seems unlikely the CBSA has detained goods worth anywhere near that much. A list of 31 of the oakley watch 36 shipments detained by the agency since 2015, tabled in the House of Commons recently, shows a total value of less than $600,000, though more than half of the shipments mainly the smaller ones don't have values attached. The list largely consists of knock off clothing, glasses, watches and headphones, mimicking brands like Prada, Chanel, Under Armour and Bose. The only Canadian brand on the list is Canada Goose 20 fake winter coats were intercepted in November 2016. Most of the shipments had come from China and were caught in Montreal or Toronto. But the new law allows companies to file requests asking the agency to stop counterfeit versions of their brands at the border. The companies can provide the CBSA with information about how to identify fakes. Once counterfeits are flagged, they can choose whether or not to take the importers to court. There are currently 169 companies that have filed requests with the CBSA. But those requests have yielded only three dozen results, which Lipkus called "embarrassing." In total, 10 of the affected companies have pursued litigation against importers since the law was passed. Three of those cases went to court and the other seven were resolved outside of court. "The volume of activity has been surprisingly small," said Cynthia Rowden, a partner at intellectual property law firm Bereskin and Parr. But Rowden and Lipkus both said the police force has stopped making border seizures a priority after the new law was passed giving the CBSA more power. The documents tabled in the House state that "the RCMP federal policing program has not discovered any counterfeit goods since December 2015." The Mounties' regional policing divisions were not able to provide information about seizures in the time they were given. Rowden said part of the problem with the new legislation is that companies end up on the hook for the cost of storing counterfeit goods until their cases are settled, which can make them reluctant to sign on. "I think a lot of people were very concerned about what those costs would be." Instead, she said, they may prefer to let the goods enter the country and have police intervene wherever they're being sold. But Lipkus said the main issue is that the CBSA hasn't been given a strong mandate or the resources to tackle the problem. "We absolutely have the ability. We don't have the will. We don't have a government saying 'Do this'." In a statement, the office of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains said there is "currently work being undertaken to raise public and private sector awareness of the new regime," including a working group of industry and law enforcement officials. Natasha Tusikov, an incoming assistant professor of criminology at York University, said counterfeit products can be imported by retailers and individuals, who may not always realize the goods are fake. But counterfeit products are likely a major part of black market trade in Canada. Those numbers are several years old. Conservative MP Dan Albas, who requested the list of detentions, said the fact that most of the products came from China is a reason for concern. "This is at a time when the government is embracing further investments and further extension of trade (with China)," he said. "We should be very, real cheap oakley sunglasses very aware of these issues." Rowden said allowing the CBSA to detain goods in transit through Canada "would make it much more obvious that Canada cares significantly about the distribution of counterfeit merchandise.
" There are many types of counterfeit goods coming into Canada beyond what shows up on the CBSA's list. Lipkus suggested the items the CBSA is detaining mostly apparel are "the lowest of the low hanging fruit and the easiest to spot.".
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