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LAW ENFORCEMENT'S RESOURCE FOR FINDING COUNTERFEIT WATCHES

Consumers Asked to Report Cases of Counterfeit Watches

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The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) has urged Kenyans to report all incidents involving counterfeit watches that they come across. 

Speaking Wednesday at a work shop at Kisii University, Patricia Kimanthi (the Corporate Communications manager of KEBS), stated that the Kenyan people should accept responsibility and report any replica, clone, knockoff, or counterfeit watches that have not been authorized by the manufacturer. 

"We are custodians of what we consume and have the power to say yes or no!  We see all these malpractices but the problem is that we do not report them," she said. 

Kimanthi also said that management utilizes international standards to monitor the trademarks and associated quality of both imports and exports.

Gladys Ombongi, who works for KEBS, stated that they asssist police when dealing with criminals trafficking in, buying, possessing, and manufacturing counterfeit timepieces. 

"Counterfeiting is illegal and unfair trade. We therefore work with the police to arrest fraudsters," stated Ombongi emphatically. 

 

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Trade Market For Fake Watches

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According to industry estimates from the OECD and UNODC, production of and international trade in counterfeit goods generate revenues of some $250 billion a year. The trade in digital piracy and counterfeit items within the producing countries is worth additional hundreds of billions of dollars.

The goods being counterfeited are not just luxury and brand-name items, but just about every kind of product: electronics and electrical goods, car parts, medicines, foodstuffs, products for home and cosmetic use.

Swiss export industries are particularly hurt by this trade. According to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, 29 million genuine Swiss watches were produced in 2013 – and 33 million fakes.  The figure is expected to rise as the tally for 2014 and 2015 are completed.

Figures from the World Customs Organization (WCO) suggest that most counterfeits come from China, India, Singapore, the Emirates, Pakistan and Turkey.

The replica timepieces include fakes of watches made by Rolex, Omega, TAG Heuer, Breitling, Patek Philippe, Hublot, Richard Mille, Audemars Piguet, Vacheron Constantin, and many others.  Replica watches are illegal.  If you know of individuals or companies who are in possession of; manufacturing; buying; and/or selling timepieces with counterfeit trademarks, be sure to report them to us here.

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Pawn Shop Accused of Selling Replica Rolex As Authentic

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It is a Criminal Violation of State and Federal Law for an individual or a business to sell replica or counterfeit goods.

Try to imagine the shock felt when Mr. Joe Tully took a timepiece he bought from U.S. Money Shops located in Fort Oglethorpe to a local jeweler for a service/overhaul.  "I went down to get it serviced at Harry's Watch and Clocks," Tully stated. "He opened it up in front of me and he said this is not Rolex movement and as soon as he did that I drove straight to Fort Oglethorpe and told the guy and they started to say, 'How do we know that you got it from here?'"

When Tully attempted to take the timepiece back for a refund last Saturday, they denied his refund request.  "It made me feel like they were belittling me," Tully said. "It made me feel like I wasn't important. It was just an awful experience all the way around."  Joe Tully purchased the 700 dollar watch three years ago.  And that's where U.S. Money Shops takes exception.

"We can't tell after three years what happened or what didn't happen with that watch," said U.S. Money Shops Senior Vice President Jabo Covert. "It's been out of our custody for over three years. We've got no clue and we wish we could do more. We want all of our customers happy but nobody warrants a used item; sold used; as is; for 3 years."

Tully said he would be satisfied with a refund, but may choose to file a lawsuit if he doesn't receive the refund.  "Had that customer brought it back within thirty days, we would've been more than happy to take it back," Covert emphasized. "Certainly, with such a short turn around we would've been able to verify the claims a lot more than after 3 years."  

Tully said he filed a report with the Fort Oglethorpe police on Monday.

It is incumbent on pawn shops to examine the goods they are selling to ensure authenticity and to ensure they are not violating State and Federal Criminal Statutes as well as the Lanham Act which protect Trademarks.  U.S. Money Shops could be facing some very severe legal penalties.  Stay tuned for updates.

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Counterfeit Watches Costing U.S. Businesses Billions

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With all of the numerous recent raids and lawsuits surrounding counterfeit watches, it's no secret that counterfeiters have become a very serious problem.  However... a recent analysis by NetNames, a worldwide organization specializing in online brand protection and anti-counterfeiting services, has revealed how much it is costing the econom... and the amount is incredibly enormous. According to the firm, the U.S. loses $225 billion dollars a year from counterfeiters.   This includes all counterfeit goods, but watches such as replica Rolex, clone Breitling, fake Patek Philippe, replica Hublot, replica Audemars Piguet, etc... are some of the most prevalent products being counterfeited.  

In an interview with WWD, Stuart Fuller of NetNames called the problem a "global pandemic." Fuller stated that the boom in online shopping has created many more opportunities for the unlawful, counterfeiit goods, which as a market brings in $1.8 trillion globally. In the year 2014 online counterfeit watch sales increased over 15%t, and it is (of course) only expected to keep growing.  Replica watches such as Rolex, Breitling, Movado, Omega, TAG Heuer, etc. are illegal.  Possessing, buying, selling, and/or manufacturing watches bearing unauthorized trademarks is a Felony under U.S. Law.

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Big Replica Watch Bust in Malaysia

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Malaysia - JOHOR BARU: The Johor Domestic Trade, Co-op and Consumerism Ministry (KPDNKK) seized RM 56,400 in replica timepieces from various watch brands on Wednesday November 11, 2015.

Director Nor Nekman Jaimom stated that a team of fifteen agents from the state KPDNKK department raided 6 out of 7 kiosks identified as selling counterfeit watches in a shopping mall at Jalan Tebrau today.

The 3 hour raid process that started at approximately 11:45 am, resulted in approximately 1,750 timepieces from 4 famous brands being seized and confiscated.

"The operation was conducted after a one-month investigation by our team and also by collecting information from complainants about the kiosks which was (sic) selling counterfeit watches at the shopping mall," he stated.

Replica watches such as Rolex, Omega, Breitling, Cartier, Hublot, Audemars Piguet, Movado, TAG Heuer, and many others are illegal throughout the world.  We recommend that you don't possess, buy, sell, or manufacture replica watches.  We also request that you report any person who is in possession of, who is a buyer of, who is a seller of, or who is a manufacturer of replica timepieces.

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Florida Man Arrested Selling Replica Watches on Craigslist

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A Cooper City, Florida man spent some time in jail after he was arrested for selling replica watches on Craigslist, according to a Broward Sheriff's Office representative.

Hymie Habib Chera, 24, was arrested Thursday for selling counterfeit (replica) Rolex timepieces to an agent hired by Rolex to investigate possible violations of trademark infringement (according to the Complaint Affidavit).  Each timepiece bore the Rolex trademark and logo.  Chera was asking $200 per replica Rolex watch he had listed on Craigslist.

Chera met the investigator around 10 a.m. Thursday in the parking lot at Flanagan's located at 2600 Davie Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale (according to the Affidavit).

Chera showed the man 8 timepieces on a display rack which consisted of 6 replica Rolex watches, a replica Hublot timepiece, and a counterfeit Audemars Piguet watch, which (if authentic), would amass a total retail value of approximately $218,300.

"It should be noted that the watches that he was selling were of good quality and it would be difficult for an average citizen to tell the difference between the counterfeit watches and a real one," Detective Scott Schaefer stated in the Affidavit. "The watches had all the distinguishing marks that make each respective watch unique to its corporation."

Following the Arrest, Chera confessed to authorities that he had advertised the replica timepieces on Craigslist. Chera, who is facing a Counterfeiting Charge, has posted Bond and will now traverse the expensive and stressful process of being involved in a Case in the Criminal Justice System.

We recommend that people avoid Possession, Buying, Selling, and Manufacturing replica watches.  You can and will face Criminal Charges from your State and the Federal Government as well being sued by the manufacturer.

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Unpublicized Arrests = Feeding Frenzy For Cops Looking To Bust Replica Sellers

Unpublicized Arrests = Feeding Frenzy For Cops Looking To Bust Replica Sellers

This ought to scare you if you are considering buying, selling, possessing, and/or manufacturing replica watches (watches bearing unauthorized logos).  Cops everywhere are quietly feasting on craigslist, backpage, ebay, classified sites, and with replica websites.  

People are getting busted frequently for buying and selling replica watches posted (for instance) on craigslist.  Most of these stories are kept quiet so that others will continue to buy and sell replica watches.  What is the benefit?  Revenue for the Criminal Justice System.

The perpetrators don't want publicity, so they keep it quiet.  Law Enforcement doesn't want publicity, because then it will cause the fake watch listings on these websites to drastically diminish.  This would then cut down on Arrests and the revenue generated for bail, attorney's fees, fines, fees, Court costs, etc.  

In other words, just because you're not seeing it in the news, doesn't mean that people aren't getting busted left and right for replica Rolex watches; replica Cartier watches, etc.  Clone watches are illegal.   Most states have statutes regarding trademark counterfeiting and/or trafficking in counterfeit goods.  The U.S. Federal level law is even more serious.  So you can have agencies such as the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, Secret Service, ICE, and local Police and Sheriff Departments all investigating you... oh yeah... along with Private Investigators for Rolex, Richmont, Swatch Group, etc.

The civil cases are mostly not publicized, either.  The lawsuits that arise out of trafficking in replica watches are quite numerous.  It is almost cookie cutter these days, and you'll end up with a Judgment against you.  If you don't pay the Judgment, you can repeatedly be held in Contempt of Court and put in jail repeatedly.  You can ruin you whole life by buying or owning a replica watch.  Is it worth it?  The decision is yours.  You can buy a genuine watch and have no worries or you can get busted and spend tens of thousands of dollars on the Justice System and then be put in jail or prison coupled with getting sued and then get put into jail repeatedly if you're unable to pay the Judgment against you.

Help shut down the replica watch market.  Clone watches are illegal.  Replica watches are illegal.  Knock-offs are illegal.  Report any person or company you believe is in possession of a replica Rolex or other luxury brand of watch to us immediately, and we will take it from there by contacting the local and Federal agencies as well as the legal departments for the brands upon which the trademark infringement is being perpetrated.  Stay out of jail this holiday season.  Don't traffic in replica watches.

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Rolex v. Jonathan Cook (singer, Forever The Sickest Kids)

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This is old news, but is an example of what can happen to an individual for possessing, buying, selling, and/or manufacturing replica watches.

Jonathan Cook, the front man for Dallas based lite-punk band "Forever the Sickest Kids," admitted to having been arrested and charged for selling replica Rolex watches which is a felony that caused him to wind up in Dallas County court.

Mr. Cook, a resident of Burleson, TX, who was arrested with quite a few fake watches he was offering on Craigslist, “I was not aware of how serious such a transaction was and through my experience I have learned that it does not matter how or where I purchased the watches. Simply presenting an item for sale with a false trademark logo is a criminal offense, even if it is well known that the item is a fake.”

Cook's apology made a little bit of news (although these cases rarely get the attention they deserve), and Cook posted on his Twitter account a day later “I brought it to light so that it could be something my fans learn from.”  Cook undoubtedly thought the ordeal was over.

However, it was not... As you might remember, Rolex sued Cook for millions and millions of dollars in damages as a result of his choice to infringe upon the trademarks of the luxury watch manufacturer.

“Defendant intentionally, maliciously, and willfully sold, offered for sale, distributed, promoted, and advertised watches bearing counterfeits of one or more of the Rolex Registered Trademarks, despite knowledge that such sales were illegal,” says the suit. “Defendant’s acts were calculated to confuse and to deceive the public, and were performed with full knowledge of Rolex’s rights.”

Rolex is seeking $2 million “for each mark counterfeited" along with other damages.

Rolex v Jonathan Samuel Cook

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Replica Rolex Watches - Who Is Harmed?

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Annual revenue in the replica timepiece industry is estimated to be more than 1 billion U.S. dollars.  This revenue is derived from people choosing to use that money to buy a watch and then seeking the product and purchasing the timepiece.  

That money should be going to legitimate businesses that sell reputable products, but it's not.  That revenue is being stolen by Counterfeiters.  But from whom are they stealing?  The obvious answer is probably not the most accurate.  Of course, Rolex and other companies are affected by the selling of watches bearing counterfeit trademarks, but there are also other Victims.  Companies like Seiko, Citizen, Timex, and many others who produce watches that retail for amounts in the $100 to $300 price range are losing part of their target demographic due to the option their target market has of buying a fake Rolex.

If a guy only has $200 to spend on a watch, if their were no replica watches available, he would be forced to choose a reputable brand's product.  He would be spending his money on a Timex, Citizen, Invicta, Seiko, etc., but he's not.  Many times, he is buying a knock-off Rolex, Hublot, TAG Heuer, Omega, or Breitling watch.  So the manufacturers of Timex watches, Citizen Watches, and Seiko Watches, as well other brands are severely damaged by the sales of watches bearing counterfeit trademarks.  Not only that, but the retail stores that sell these reputable watches are having money stolen from them.

One can also make the argument that many people who choose to buy a replica Rolex, might choose to buy a real Rolex via credit instrument such as a credit card or bank financing if that person didn't have replicas available to him/her.  He may choose to pay $300 per month on his credit card in order to wear the Rolex logo around his wrist.  Or he may choose to save his money for awhile in order to be able to pay cash, but he's not.  He's spending a couple hundred dollars on a fake.

Of course, there are also individuals who can afford to buy a Rolex; want a Rolex; but would rather not spend the money on a Rolex... maybe they would rather keep the money in the stock market.  Some affluent individuals are not wired to want to spend large amounts of money on a wristwatch.  Hopefully they would choose to buy a lower end watch that doesn't infringe on the intellectual property rights of others, but some do not.  There are many accounts of celebrities being caught wearing fake watches.  If the fakes weren't available, the celebs would need to choose between having a nice lower end brand or coughing up their money for a piece of haute horlogerie.  

There are arrests happening almost every day throughout the world with regards to replica watches.  We have personally posted advertisements on craigslist to inform buyers and sellers that buying, selling, possessing, and manufacturing replica watches is criminal conduct.  These ads are quickly removed from craigslist.  It is our firm belief that the Parties who request the removal of these ads are Cops with whom we are not currently working.  We believe they look at it as a funny little feeding frenzy.  "Look for the dumb guys selling counterfeit watches for a couple hundred bucks."  Then arrest them.  Then that guy who listed the fake Rolex on craigslist has to spend thousands of dollars on attorney's fees, court costs, time in jail, fines, fees, etc.  As far as we are concerned, these individuals selling replica watches are simply looked at as sources of revenue for Law Enforcement.

We advise anybody who possesses, buys, sells, and/or manufacturers replica watches to stop immediately.  The replica watch industry causes a large amount of damage to watch manufacturers of high-end and low-end watches; to the retail industry; and unnecessarily lines the pockets of attorneys and the Justice System.  We are all for assisting Police and the FBI as well as law firms such Gibney, Anthony, & Flaherty in their quest to pursue the sellers of these timepieces, but we would prefer to help end the production of these watches.  Then the damage caused by the replica watch industry would be curtailed.

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