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Shure UK Clamp Down on Counterfeiters
Shure Distribution UK are mounting a vigorous campaign to clamp down on rogue traders following another wave of counterfeit microphones that are flooding the marketplace.
Counterfeit Shure microphones are currently being sold through a number of websites, including eBay and Amazon, while music shops around the UK are also receiving emails directly from some counterfeit traders offering to supply ‘Shure’ products.
Recently thousands of pounds worth of fake products were seized by Sefton Council Trading Standards Service — acting on information provided by IP investigators Intellectual Property Management Services (IPMS) — following a raid on premises in Maghull, Liverpool. Another fake consignment was also intercepted recently at East Midlands Airport. In Liverpool, three boxes containing 45 fake Shure microphones, which usually sell for £120 each, were confiscated. Trading Standards officers worked with Merseyside police during the operation and a man was arrested for breaching the Trade Marks Act 1994.
The company concerned had allegedly contacted via email authorised Shure stockists offering to supply various products, including the Shure SM58 microphone, at a cost of £50 — which was approximately half the normal retail cost of this microphone. A test purchase was made by the IPMS on behalf of Shure Distribution which showed that the supplied microphone was infringing product and not manufactured by, or on behalf of the company.
Shure Distribution UK MD Dennis Harburn warns that this is the type of trader their customers are dealing with. He senses that while high premium mic brands like Shure have always been ripe for copying, the situation has reached epidemic proportions since the advent of the internet and companies like eBay.
“We discovered that this offender had a PayPal account with the auction site eBay.co.uk.,” he said. “And although eBay's Verified Rights Owner (VeRO) Program works to ensure that item listings do not infringe upon manufacturers’ copyright, we are aware of many companies trading fake products through the internet.
“To look at, people would not necessarily know that these products are fake but the quality of the microphones is inferior to the genuine article.”
Shure Europe GmbH have already mounted a hard-hitting Shure Against Counterfeiting campaign, covering the EMEA territories, designed to inform end users about fake products; this is backed up with a series of guidelines. Back in the UK Dennis Harburn confirms that his company will have no hesitation in prosecuting traders contravening the Trade Marks Act 1994. They will also seek to close the offending web sites by contacting the Internet Service provider.
This includes the premises in Maghull, where the proprietor is not only likely to be charged in terms of the Trade Marks Act 1994 relating to the sale and supply of the Shure products, but other charges will allegedly be made by the police. The likely penalties, as well as being financial, can include the provision of a custodial sentence.
Dennis Harburn promises: “We will now run ad campaigns warning people against fake mics and to educate customers to the fact that they should only buy from authorised resellers. These fakes are often difficult to detect and customers need to check the authenticity of the mic and we will give them ideas of what to look for. The simple answer is to only buy from a reputable authorised reseller. In that way they know they are buying genuine goods.”
He says that Shure’s popular SM57’s and SM58’s, Beta 57’s and Beta 58’s as well as radio mics are particularly vulnerable to counterfeiting, and that the value of recovered Shure product in Liverpool was approximately £5,400.
“Anyone we suspect is using fake images, trademarks and logos we will endeavour to get closed down. The problem is that although we employ a company that monitors this activity, it is hugely time-consuming and unless we prosecute, the companies start right back up again.”
Thanking the Trading Standards officers and Merseyside police authorities for their endeavours, Dennis Harburn says that it is only by raising awareness that Shure will beat the counterfeiters; in the meantime they will continue to seek the maximum penalties against anyone breaching their IP.
21st September 2006
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