Lazada partners with Panasonic and Thai police for one of the largest seizures in Southeast Asia
21 July 2021
Thai police have successfully dismantled a Panasonic counterfeiting ring and recovered more than 82,000 counterfeit batteries bearing Panasonic’s trademark. The seizure is the largest to date for the brand in Southeast Asia, with the batteries intended for sale on various e-commerce platforms.
The raid, which took place at a warehouse outside Bangkok two months ago, was the result of several months of close collaboration between Panasonic’s brand team and Lazada’s IP team, who facilitated information sharing and provided evidence to the relevant Thai authorities.
As batteries are often classified as consumables, they are regularly overlooked as products that can be counterfeited, despite the risk that fake batteries are highly hazardous and can cause serious damage to a variety of household appliances.
While Lazada can help provide leads via the digital trail that these criminals leave behind, only law enforcement and government agencies can put the criminals behind bars and permanently halt the counterfeit trade. In order to make real and tangible progress, the root cause must be addressed, and that means locating, arresting and taking actions against the counterfeiters who manufacture and trade in these goods in the physical world.
In this instance, Panasonic’s team discovered a seller whose products turned out to be counterfeits when the brand conducted a test purchase. To support Panasonic’s investigation, Lazada provided them with information on the seller’s digital footprint, which assisted in pinpointing the suspect’s whereabouts, leading to the eventual seizure of the batteries.
“The major e-commerce platforms normally cooperate with brands and authorities to undertake enforcement actions against counterfeits. For example, Lazada, Shopee and JD Central are parties to the Memorandum of Understanding on the Protection of IP on the Internet signed by the Ministry of Commerce, other related government authorities, internet platforms and right holders on January 11, 2021 to set up a voluntary administrative mechanism to effectively stop online IP infringement. They have the notice and takedown policy and procedures in their platforms and they usually voluntarily honour the requests of IP holders to take down posts and pages on their platforms proven to have been infringing brands or other IPRs of right holders,” says Kowit Somwaiya, managing partner at LawPlus in Bangkok. “For the e-commerce platforms which are not willing to accommodate the brand owners’ requests for actions against counterfeiters, the brand owners sometimes take actions against them and/or their users (online shops) and/or their delivery service companies. Brand owners, through their enforcement attorneys or collection agents, do trap purchases of counterfeits and ask the police to arrest the delivery persons of the shops or the platforms, and seize the counterfeits at the delivery spot before pressing charges with the police against the platforms and other parties involved with the counterfeiting. Providing the ‘safe harbour’ legislation for e-commerce platforms and other types of internet service provider will encourage them to actively collaborate with IP holders and authorities on enforcement actions against online counterfeiters. The draft amendment to the Copyright Act to include provisions on ‘notice and take down’ against pirated goods, which is currently being reviewed by a working committee of the House of Representatives, is a good example of the safe harbour legislation.”