On April 25, a Chinese court convicted Mr. Zeng Hong, owner of Simple Golf, of distributing counterfeit products illegally bearing the registered trademarks of members of the Golf Group. The defendant was sentenced to a 4-year prison term and a substantial fine for operating a retail store, four associated facilities and an online website selling counterfeit golf products. This jail sentence is believed to be the stiffest penalty a Chinese court has delivered against a counterfeiter of golf products.
"We commend the Chinese court system for returning a stiff but just sentence," said Rawleigh Grove, vice president and general counsel for PING. "We hope this case will serve as a significant deterrent for other counterfeiters in the area as it shows counterfeiting is a serious offense."
"We are very pleased that the mastermind of this counterfeit ring has been brought to justice," said Don Reino, vice president of legal operations for Cleveland Golf. "Counterfeiting is a serious crime and consumers need to be aware of the problem. We will continue to seek to educate consumers and government officials about the issue."
Zeng Hong was arrested on Sept. 7 of last year when Chinese officials simultaneously raided five facilities, including the factory and warehouse for the Simple Golf store, a polishing studio and a facility for processing golf bags. In all, approximately 70,000 counterfeit golf products were seized.
The thorough investigation revealed the operation to be highly active in manufacturing, processing and distributing counterfeit golf products through the Simple Golf store and online on a popular Chinese exchange site. The 4-year sentence is a strong warning signal to those who continue to manufacture and sell counterfeit golf products. This is the second conviction in a two month span stemming from investigations initiated by the group this year.
More information about counterfeit golf clubs and products can be found at www.keepgolfreal.com.
The Golf Anti-Counterfeiting Group consists of five of the most well-known golf companies in the world -- Callaway-Odyssey; TaylorMade-adidas Golf and Ashworth; PING; Cleveland Golf, Srixon and Never Compromise; and Acushnet Company whose brands are Titleist, FootJoy and Scotty Cameron. Since 2004, the Golf Anti-Counterfeiting Group has worked with international law enforcement and government agencies to conduct raids and investigations of counterfeit operations, as well as raise public awareness of the issue. In 2011 alone, the group seized more than 80,000 counterfeit golf products.
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