Hangzhou customs seize 300 pirated World Cup balls

Xinhua
Customs authorities in Hangzhou said on Wednesday that it has seized 300 soccer balls whose design was pirated from that of the match balls for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Xinhua

Customs authorities in Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang Province, said on Wednesday that it has seized 300 soccer balls whose design was pirated from that of the match balls for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Customs seized the balls, which were slated to be exported to Lebanon, on April 9.

"The declaration form said the balls were without a brand, but when we opened the boxes, we found the balls were printed with patterns that resembled the official match ball for the World Cup," said Zheng Xianneng, an inspector with customs in Yiwu City, which is administered by Hangzhou Customs.

The balls were also printed with pictures of World Cup trophies and signs reading "Russia 2018," according to Zheng.

"These balls were poorly packaged and their quality was substandard, so we immediately suspected they were pirated," said Zheng.

Inspectors accessed an online system to check intellectual property rights products and found the balls infringed upon the trademark rights of FIFA and the copyright of Adidas, said Pan Deng, deputy head of the intellectual property department of Yiwu Customs.

The customs notified FIFA as part of the process to confirm the piracy, said Pan.

Hangzhou customs said it will impose fines on exporters.

It will also carry out stringent inspections on piracy and organize anti-piracy public campaigns among businesses in Yiwu, known as the "world supermarket" for its wholesale goods.

In February, 360 similar pirated balls were seized in Jinhua City, also in Zhejiang.


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