These successes demonstrate the Golf Group's ongoing commitment to prosecuting counterfeiters and to limiting counterfeit production. These raids are part of a larger clustering campaign by the group in which police in four provinces have raided more than 20 counterfeiting operations, seized more than 350,000 counterfeit golf products and arrested more than 20 counterfeiters including manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers.
"We continue to make significant progress abroad in petitioning government officials to take enforcement actions against counterfeiters," said Joe Nauman, executive vice president for corporate and legal for Acushnet Company. "In the last year, we've seen the length of prison sentences for convicted counterfeiters of golf products increase, which is an important step in the right direction. We are pleased with the efforts of the police, prosecutors and court system in China for helping to bring these criminals to justice."
Three Sentenced to Lengthy TermsIn August, three convicted counterfeiters received lengthy sentences from a Shanghai court for participating in two counterfeit golf product distribution operations. Zhang Qun was convicted of counterfeiting registered trademarks and sentenced to a prison term of 3 years with 3 additional years of probation. He was also fined more than $40,000. He Tieqi was convicted of counterfeiting registered trademarks and sentenced to three years in prison with three years of probation in addition to a fine of nearly $26,000. Zhai Qiang was convicted of the same crime and sentenced to a 1-year prison term and fined more than $8,000.
These convictions resulted from a February raid of a Shanghai assembly factory operated by Zhang Qun where nearly 3,400 counterfeit golf products were seized. During this raid, officials obtained evidence identifying He Tieqi and Zhai Qiang as counterfeiters who used the same upstream supplier as Zhang Qun. Officials then raided two additional counterfeit facilities operated by He Tieqi and Zhai Qiang resulting in the seizure of more than 5,000 counterfeit golf products.
Owner of Store Sentenced to 10 MonthsAlso in August, Tian Shimi was sentenced by a Beijing court to 10 months in prison without probation and fined more than $16,000. Tian Shimi operated the Friend Golf Store in the Yaxiu Market of the Chaoyang District of Beijing. The Golf Group investigated this operation and petitioned government officials to raid this store in October, 2011. Tian Shimi was convicted of distributing counterfeit products bearing the registered trademarks of members of the Golf Group.
"We are very pleased with the recent string of convictions, especially those carrying significant prison terms and hefty fines," said Tim Buckman, Vice President of Global Communications for Callaway Golf. "These convictions should serve as a strong deterrent to counterfeiters and demonstrate the seriousness of the crime as well as our dedication to protecting consumers."
Recent Silk Market RaidOn August 8, the Golf Group successfully petitioned local Chinese officials to simultaneously raid a counterfeit retail store, known as the Bo Yuan Golf Store, and a counterfeit processing workshop located in the residence of the counterfeiter, both located in the Chaoyang District of Beijing. In total, more than 550 counterfeit golf products were seized. Based on information obtained from these raids, officials then successfully raided two counterfeit stores in the Silk Market in Beijing. More than 1,000 counterfeit golf products were seized and four staff members were arrested by officials for distributing counterfeit products. The Silk Market is notorious for counterfeit products.
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.