China Phase One Agreement
The United States and China negotiated the Phase One agreement after the U.S. placed significant tariffs on Chinese imports. The agreement focused on seven areas including protection of intellectual property rights and technology transfer requirements. China has failed to live up to all its obligations under the agreement, and the U.S. is considering the appropriate response.
The Intellectual Property Provisions of the agreement focus on the protection of trade secrets, trademarks, and enforcement of laws against fake products, and China has cooperated more on IPR enforcement and seizures of counterfeit products since the agreement. The U.S. International Trade Administration (ITA) has created STOPFAKES.gov to help companies understand international IPR laws and share information on IPR violations to assist the government in identifying violators to help address the problem. Legislation to strengthen U.S. IPR laws has been introduced in Congress, but no hearings have been held and it is not expected to pass in 2022.
Golf Industry Anti-Counterfeiting
SFIA’s U.S. Golf Manufacturers Council (USGMC) operates an anti-counterfeit program based in China to counter the rise in fake golf equipment. All major golf manufacturers participate in the program and work with local officials to seize fake equipment in organized raids and to hold counterfeiters accountable.
In 2021, more than 50,000 fake trademark labels and 31,000 pieces of fake equipment and apparel were confiscated. 11 suspects were charged with selling counterfeit products with bank accounts and online payment accounts, and real estate was seized.
The largest operation took place in September 2021, and involved six coordinated raids with Chinese authorities in five cities, capturing over 21,000 fake products. As a result of this USGMC anti-counterfeiting effort, 1,330 counterfeit equipment listings were removed and listings for fake equipment are down.
For more information or questions regarding SFIA’s intellectual property rights efforts, please contact Bill Sells.