The Department of Economic Development (DED) confiscated more than 245,000 fake items in the first half of 2011 during raids on Dubai markets, a DED official told Gulf News.
Officials issued 1,370 fines after inspecting 4,000 shops across the emirate, specifically wholesale traders in Karama, Bur Dubai and Deira, said Ahmad Al Awadi, Head of the Commercial Protection Section at DED.
The 245,600 seized counterfeit products comprised an assortment of top brands in clothing, shoes, perfumes, glasses, accessories, electronics, food and construction materials, he added, but would not disclose the amount fined or place a value on the confiscated items.
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Almost half the locations visited were fined. "This is the result of the quick buck that the trader of counterfeit goods makes," said Al Awadi. Most of the fakes originated from East Asia and will be destroyed.
In the second half of this year, the DED will target importers and industrial areas in an attempt to catch the problem at its root, he said.
Knock-offs are usually not produced in the UAE and most are imported, he added. Some products are so well copied that it's difficult to tell the difference between the original and a knock-off, so they are tested at approved labs and the Dubai Police labs to determine if they are fakes.
In 2010, 33 per cent of the consumer complaints received by the DED were about sales of fake items, according to a study by the department. During a raid on Dragon Mart last month, the DED seized 2,500 fake items from the popular Chinese market and imposed Dh100,000 in fines on 113 stores.
Earlier this year, the DED destroyed 453,000 fake items it confiscated in 2010.
Importing, buying from an unlicensed vendor or selling of fake goods can cost the offender Dh5,000 to Dh20,000 in fines, according to the DED. Manufacturing or selling packaging material or containers for the sale of fake goods can set back the offender Dh15,000 to Dh50,000.
Despite efforts to stem the flow of counterfeit goods into the UAE, the practise continues to be a problem in the country. The Commercial Protection Section defines commercial fraud as "the faking of goods so that they do not comply with specifications of the originals." It is the "cheating or intending to cheat or mislead one of the parties in contractual dealings."
How to file a complaint
To file a complaint against trademark infringement with the Commercial Protection Section at DED, applicants must submit the following documents:
n An official complaint letter in Arabic (if possible)n A copy of the trademark registrationn A written authorisation to proceed with the complaintn A list of the people or companies complained againstn An original product samplen A fake product samplen A list of the similarities and differences between the original and fake product.