30 detained as police raid fake Lego stores, Apple service centers

Chen Huizhi
More than 30 suspects have been detained in three cases where some shops were found to be displaying logos of famous trademarks while providing unauthorized services to customers.
Chen Huizhi

Shanghai police said on Tuesday that they had cracked three trademark infringement cases in which the suspects provided unauthorized services under logos similar to those of some famous international brands.

The trademarks infringed in the cases include Lego, Apple and 3M, and the suspects allegedly used them to attract customers.

Police said they started their investigation after receiving complaints from certain trademark holders who claimed to have discovered the violations.

An amendment to China's criminal code, which took effect in March, for the first time prohibits the use of registered trademarks in providing services similar to those provided under the brand names. Those convicted could face up to 10 years in jail along with fines.

Such violations usually happen in businesses that work in product promotion, repairs and car maintenance, police said.

At the end of last month, police bust four alleged Lego shops which sold game sessions with Lego toys. The shops were located in suburban Jiading and Songjiang districts as well as the Pudong New Area.

The decoration of the shops and the staff's work uniforms were highly similar to those of the authentic Lego shops, but the game sessions there were slightly cheaper than those at the original outlets, police said.

By the time the four shops were raided, more than 200 people had spent about 1.1 million yuan (US$172,000) on unauthorized services at the shops.

Police also raided more than 20 repair shops of electronic devices which allegedly displayed logos of some products with no authorization from the manufacturers.

Seven shops providing car maintenance services were found to be displaying logos of famous trademarks but providing fake products under the brand names.

Among the suspects caught in the three cases, more than 30 have been detained, pending criminal charges, while others could be given administrative punishments, police said.

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