【英语中国】中国造假依旧猖獗

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所属分类:双语中国

2013-12-12 09:26

小艾摘要: In a cramped high-rise office in Hong Kong’s ritziest shopping district, -private investigator Ted Kavowras sits in front of a display of prosthetic disguises as he shares tales of China’s fake fact ...
In a cramped high-rise office in Hong Kong’s ritziest shopping district, -private investigator Ted Kavowras sits in front of a display of prosthetic disguises as he shares tales of China’s fake factories.

Mr Kavowras is a former New York City policeman who investigates counterfeiting on behalf of -foreign companies. He leads a team of expatriates who pose as buyers, visiting factories suspected of infringing on his clients’ intellectual property.

Armed with both artificial beards and front companies to conceal his identity, Kavowras has uncovered some unusual items in his investigations, including a knock-off of a patented mock penis that can be filled with fake urine to fool drug tests.

China is well-known as a major counterfeiting hub. According to the World Customs Organisation, 75 per cent of counterfeit goods seized worldwide in 2008 to 2010 came from China.

Customs data from the US for 2012 shows that 84 per cent of confiscated fakes were from China and Hong Kong.

Mr Kavowras and other investigators and lawyers say China’s legal system – particularly its civil courts – has made major strides in enforcing trademark rights. However, online sales networks, ever-adapting counterfeiters and a lack of criminal prosecutions continue to pose problems.

Production of fake goods, centred in the southern province of Guangdong, is as big as ever. Counterfeit production happens in proximity to legitimate local industries – sometimes even in the same factory, which allows the fake manufacturer to feed off the same supply chains.

“Every year you have better enforcement of laws, but you get more and more professional counterfeiters,” says Doug Clark, a Hong Kong lawyer specialising in intellectual property issues.

As enforcement rises, forgers have become wary of outsiders. Some no longer keep their products on site and refuse to do business with people they do not know personally, says Mr Clark. They will not give out free samples to potential buyers, requiring investigators pretending to be business partners to make expensive purchases to acquire evidence.

Mr Kavowras says he has enjoyed success over the past five years by hiring public notaries to accompany him on factory visits. Playing the part of an extrovert businessman, he poses with factory employees for photographs in front of stolen moulds and fake merchandise. If documented by at least two public notaries, the photographs, as well as goods that change hands, become admissible as evidence in Chinese courts and a boon to civil and even criminal litigation.

In response, some factories refuse to meet more than two people to discuss deals, meaning that an investigator and two notaries cannot get in the same room with a counterfeiter, says Mr Clark.

The shift of sales online further complicates enforcement. Counterfeiters send small shipments via courier to single domestic and foreign buyers, eliminating middlemen and traceable shipping containers.

While no surveys exist on the scale of the current online infringement problem, Chinese internet company Alibaba said it took down 87m ‘allegedly IP-infringing’ product listings from its online marketplace Taobao last year.

“In the old days, we would bust a warehouse full of fakes in Los Angeles or Dallas or Miami or New York,” recalls Rob Holmes, a Dallas-based investigator of online infringement. “Now, because of how good the logistics are out of China they ship one [item] at a time.”

This atomisation of counterfeit shipments makes infringers much harder to find. As a corollary, it has also made anti-counterfeiting work somewhat safer, at least for lawyers in the US.

“Back in the old days, Canal Street, Chinatown, it was like the Wild West,” recalls Brian Brokate, a New York attorney. “You went down there to do a seizure, mobs would form. There was always a concern that somebody was going to pull a gun.

“I remember somebody setting off a low-level explosive,” he continued. “There was a lawyer down there: he was actually stabbed.”

Perhaps the most entrenched problem in fighting counterfeiting in China is the country’s reliance on administrative enforcement and prohibitive thresholds for criminal liability, experts say.

Unless police can prove sales or inventory above a certain amount – Rmb50,000 for producers and Rmb150,000 for traders, according to a report issued by the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition – infringers are subject only to fines, not imprisonment.

Since just proving that a counterfeiter has passed a criminal threshold can eat up precious investigative resources, such requirements sometimes cause police to look the other way. Without imprisonment as a deterrent, even fined counterfeiters are likely to set up shop again. In the absence of increased criminal enforcement, the industry is likely to remain entrenched, says Mr Clark.

According to Mr Holmes, the Texas investigator, it is also important to note where a lot of the demand is coming from – developed nations like the US.

“China isn’t going to make anything we don’t ask for,” he says. Mr Holmes describes neighbourhood -parties in the Dallas suburbs at which soccer mums sell counterfeit handbags bought online. “I talk about what I call the desperate housewives. They are the new face of modern crime.”

私家调查员泰德?卡沃拉斯(Ted Kavowras)的办公室位于香港某繁华商业街的一座高层写字楼中。此刻他正坐在狭小的办公室内,讲述有关中国造假工厂的故事,身后摆放着一排化装道具。

卡沃拉斯以前是纽约市的一名警察,如今在香港专门代表外国公司调查造假问题。他领导一个由外籍人员组成的团队,他们化装成买家,走访被怀疑侵犯了客户知识产权的工厂。

卡沃拉斯用假胡子,还有幌子公司来隐藏自己的身份,他在调查中发现了一些极不寻常的东西,包括一种专利仿生阴茎的仿制品,其内部可以盛放尿液,用以在药检中作弊。

中国作为一个主要造假中心早已名声在外。来自世界海关组织(World Customs Organisation)的数据显示,2006至2010年间,全球范围内查获的假货有75%产自中国。

2012年来自美国的海关数据显示,84%被收缴的假冒产品来自中国内地和香港。

卡沃拉斯和其他调查员以及律师们表示,中国的司法系统——特别是民事法庭——在强制执行商标权方面取得了长足进步。但线上销售网络、与时俱进的造假者以及刑事诉讼机制的缺位仍然成问题。

假冒产品的生产规模仍不输以往,主要集中在中国南方的广东省。造假生产与合法的地方工业联系紧密——有时甚至发生在同一工厂中,这些工厂允许造假者使用和正品一样的原材料供应链。

专长处理知识产权问题的香港律师道格?克拉克(Doug Clark)表示:“执法力度年年都在加强,但专业造假者却越来越多。”

随着执法力度的提高,造假者对外人的防备也越来越强。克拉克表示,一部分人不再把产品就地存放,并拒绝与他们不认识的人做生意。他们不会向潜在买家发放免费样品,为此调查员不得不扮成商业伙伴,花大价钱购买他们的产品以获取证据。

卡沃拉斯表示,过去五年中他通过聘请公证人陪同他探访工厂获得了成功。他把自己扮成一位外向爱交际的商人,在被偷来的铸模与假冒商品前与工厂员工摆姿势合照。如果经由至少两位公证人证明,由此拍得的照片以及转手的货物,就变成了中国法庭可以采信的证据,并可用于提起民事甚至刑事诉讼。

克拉克表示,对此一些工厂采取的对策是,拒绝在洽谈交易时会见两个以上的人,这意味着一名调查员和两位公证人不能同时与造假者处在同一房间。

销售活动向线上转移的趋势进一步加大了执法难度。造假者通过快递将少量货品送到国内或国外的单个买家手中,而无需借助中间人和可追踪的集装箱货运。

虽然目前尚无关于网络侵权问题严重程度的调查,但中国互联网公司阿里巴巴(Alibaba)表示,去年其从旗下的网络交易平台淘宝(Taobao)上撤除了8700万种“涉嫌侵犯知识产权”的商品。

专攻网络侵权问题的达拉斯调查员罗布?霍尔姆斯(Rob Holmes)表示:“过去,我们会在洛杉矶、达拉斯、迈阿密或纽约突击检查一间装满假货的仓库;如今,由于中国出境物流已经如此发达,造假者每次只寄送一件假货。”

这种假货运输的分散化使得造假者更加难以追踪。由此导致的必然结果是,反造假的工作变得更加安全了,至少对美国的律师来说。

纽约律师布赖恩?布罗卡特(Brian Brokate)回忆道:“过去,坚尼街和唐人街简直就像是狂野西部。当你去到那里进行收缴时,黑帮会聚集起来。你总是会担心,有人会突然拔出一支枪。”

他继续说到:“我记得曾有人引爆过一枚威力不大的炸弹。有一名律师倒下了:他其实是被刀刺伤的。”

专家们指出,打击中国造假问题时遇到的最难以克服的阻碍或许是,中国对行政强制执行方式的依赖,以及在追究刑事责任方面高得令人却步的门槛。

国际反假联盟(IACC)发布的一份报告称,除非警方能够证明假货的销售或者库存金额超过了一定数目——对生产者是人民币5万元,对经销商是人民币15万元——对侵权人的处罚将仅限于罚款,而不适用监禁。

由于证明一个造假者达到了刑事处罚门槛将占用宝贵的调查资源,此类涉案金额要求有时会促使警方转而寻求其他惩处途径。没有了监禁的威胁,造假者即便被罚了款,也很有可能重操旧业。克拉克表示,如果不加强刑事执法力度,造假行业很可能仍将根深蒂固地存在下去。

德克萨斯的调查员霍尔姆斯表示,还有一点也很重要,即对假货的大部分需求来自像美国这样的发达国家。

他说:“中国不会生产我们不需要的东西。”霍尔姆斯介绍称,在达拉斯郊区的社区聚会上,“足球妈妈”们会借机销售在网上购买的冒牌手袋。“我所说的是我称为绝望主妇的那类人。他们是现代犯罪的新面孔。”

译者/马拉

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