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Men In Sydney Court: Counterfeit Washing Powder

Father and Son In Sydney Court Over Counterfeit Washing Powder That Should Be Kiwi-Made

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A father and son from Revesby in Sydney will appear in Downing Centre Local Court tomorrow (Tuesday 12 February) charged with allegedly importing and selling tonnes of counterfeit OMO washing powder.

Unilever Australia, the registered owner of the OMO trademark, referred the matter to the Australian Federal Police (AFP) after it discovered retailers in the Sydney metropolitan area were selling 9kg buckets of ‘OMO-branded’ washing powder marked ‘made in Indonesia’for around $25.

The genuine product retails for between $35 and $40 and is manufactured in New Zealand for the Australian market.

Further investigation revealed three companies were linked to the importation and distribution of the alleged counterfeit washing powder which originated in China.

The two men, aged 53 and 32, were later charged on summons.

During the investigation, a shipment of almost 22 tonnes was intercepted and seized by Customs under the Trade Marks Act 1995.

It will be alleged that between 22 March 2006 and 30 August 2007 about 185 tonnes of counterfeit product (washing powder and buckets) were imported into Australia.

AFP National Manager for Economic and Special Operations Paul Jevtovic said the AFP was committed to working collaboratively with agency and industry partners in order to disrupt criminal activity relating to copyright and trademark offences.

“This type of criminal activity represents a significant financial impact on the relevant industry and misleads the Australian public regarding the quality and authenticity of everyday consumer items,” Assistant Commissioner Jevtovic said.

Customs National Manager Cargo Operations North Catherine Asbridge said the detection was an example of effective targeting of imported counterfeit goods.

“It also shows the effectiveness of the notice of objection scheme under the Trade Marks Act, which Customs is committed to uphold,” Ms Asbridge said.

The men have been charged with selling goods with a falsely applied trade mark contrary to section 148(a) of the Trade Marks Act 1995 and importing goods with a falsely applied trade mark contrary to section 148(d) of the Trade Marks Act 1995.

The maximum penalty for these offences is two years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $55,000.


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