Intellectual Property Theft News April - June 2016

Please note: NAAG’s Executive Committee decided not to re-authorize the IP Committee for this next fiscal year, so this will be the last newsletter. If any of you have IP issues you would like us to address, please let us know.

The following is a compendium of news reports over the last three months that may be of interest to our AG offices that are dealing with intellectual property issues. Neither the National Association of Attorneys General nor the National Attorneys General Training & Research Institute expresses a view as to the accuracy of news accounts nor as to the position expounded by the authors of the hyperlinked articles.

Legislation

Federal

A House Report accompanying the appropriations for Agriculture, Rural Development, and the FDA has directed the FDA to address the concerns raised by adulterated and fraudulently labeled olive oil imported into the United States. It is estimated that up to 80 percent of imported olive oil is improperly labeled.

Congress passed and the President signed the Defend Trade Secrets Act, SB 1890. The bill will give companies the right to sue in federal court to recover damages, enforce injunctions, and prevent the further dissemination of stolen trade secrets.Before passage of the new law, a company whose trade secret had been stolen could sue only in state court under state law for damages.

State

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley signed S. 1015, which makes it a felony for a person to knowingly or intentionally import, manufacture, sell, or install counterfeit automobile air bags.

State Intellectual Property Theft Investigations/Prosecutions

Florida

May 5, 2016: After conducting several undercover buys of counterfeit Viagra and Cialis pills, police arrested Dan Rueben Baker, 49, of Pembroke Pines. He was charged with dispensing prescription drugs without a license, selling contraband drugs, and counterfeiting.

Illinois

April 19, 2016: The Lake County Sheriff’s Office has charged an Ingleside man, Felipe Aparicio-Nolasco, with one felony count of possession/sale of counterfeit goods. Investigators serving a search warrant found more than 1,000 counterfeit items at his home. He told investigators that he had been selling items to local soccer teams.

Michigan

April 15, 2016: Timothy Roger Szubinski was sentenced to 10 months in the Kent County jail after pleading guilty to selling counterfeit goods and to violating Michigan tobacco tax laws. Counterfeit goods were discovered at 10 Sleeping Tiger stores when state police conducted a search based on allegations that the stores were violating tobacco tax regulations. Szubinski will also pay the state more than $9,400 for uncollected tobacco taxes and $2,000 for the cost of the investigation.

New York

June 13, 2016: In Hicksville, Tirath Chugh, 48, was arrested and charged with possession of counterfeit designer merchandise at Premium Lounge in the Broadway Mall. He faces second- and third-degree trademark counterfeiting charges.

June 6, 2016: New York State Police stopped John Chavous, 49, for traffic violations on I-90. A search revealed that he had cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, other controlled substances, and counterfeit DVDs in his possession. Along with the drug charges, he has been charged with second-degree trademark counterfeiting.

Ohio

June 10, 2016: Troy, New York, resident Melissa Martin, 25, was charged with selling counterfeit tickets to the NBA Finals game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors. She allegedly had $14,000 worth of fake tickets when she was arrested. Two men, Cleveland residents Harvey Nelson and Mason Wein, were also arrested and charged with trademark counterfeiting and Georgia resident Matthew Cubbage was arrested after having sold three fake tickets for $2,100. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine warned Cavalier fans to beware counterfeit ticket scams.

May 16, 2016: The Cuyahoga County Grand Jury has indicted Jesse Joe Cundall on charges of theft, forgery, trademark counterfeiting, telecommunications fraud, and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. He advertised tickets for Cleveland Cavalier games that allegedly turned out to be counterfeit.

Pennsylvania

June 2, 2016: An anonymous tip led police to arrest Ron Seeley and John Green, who were found with counterfeit tickets to the Stanley Cup finals in Pittsburgh. When the pair saw police approaching, they tried to flee in their car, but were pulled over. Seeley was reportedly found tearing up tickets as police approached the vehicle.

South Carolina

May 20, 2016: The North Carolina Secretary of State and the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office found over $100,000 worth of counterfeit items at various businesses in Robeson County. Eight individuals were cited after seizures were made at more than 15 businesses.

Articles of General Interest

Fentanyl-laced counterfeit Norco has caused the death of at least 13 people in California and the hospitalization of 53. In mid-May, three people died of heroin overdoses, which have been linked to the sale of counterfeit pills that are a combination of heroin, fentanyl, and caffeine.

The website Instagram recently posted a sponsored ad for counterfeit Yeezy Boost shoes. The post directs Instagram users to a third party website which offers Yeezys for $99, a “sale” price. The real shoes sell for prices up to $1,000.

After a two-year investigation, federal officials have arrested five men in New York and charged them with operating a counterfeit perfume ring. These products contained urine, antifreeze, and flammable or dangerous chemicals that burn when applied to the skin.

A Missouri woman has pled guilty in federal court to selling more than $80 million worth of counterfeit cell phone components both over the Internet and out of a store located in Springfield, Missouri.

In West Virginia, federal prosecutors have impaneled a grand jury to look into allegations that the Boston Scientific Corporation used counterfeit raw material from China in vaginal mesh implants sold to thousands of women.

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing looking into the danger to consumers presented by counterfeit goods. Among those testifying was a representative from Revision Military, which makes ballistic protection eyewear for the military.

This article explores the extent of counterfeit food in worldwide trade.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has issued its annual Special 301 report. It lists 11 countries on the Priority Watch List, including Egypt, Lebanon, and Turkey.

A Boise, Idaho, plastic surgeon is being sued in federal district court by four women for allegedly giving them counterfeit breast implants and injecting counterfeit Botox without their knowledge.

Hackers are co-opting university and college websites to sell counterfeit drugs, according to a report in WPIX-TV.


Judy McKee is the Editor of Intellectual Property Theft News and may be reached at 202-326-6044. The Intellectual Property Theft News is a publication of the National Association of Attorneys General. Any use and/or copies of this newsletter in whole or part must include the customary bibliographic citation. NAAG retains copyright and all other intellectual property rights in the material presented in this publication. For content submissions or to contact the editor directly, please e-mail jmckee@naag.org.

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