OpSec Blog

 Insights on Anti-Counterfeiting & Brand Protection Solutions


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FDA Cracks Down on Sites Selling Counterfeit Drugs

Posted by admin on Oct 4, 2012 11:58:17 AM
(Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it has cracked down on thousands of online pharmacies for selling potentially unsafe, unapproved or fake medicines, including the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra and antiviral Tamiflu.

The FDA, working with international regulatory and law enforcement agencies from about 100 countries, said on Thursday that it took action against more than 4,100 Internet pharmacies, bringing civil and criminal charges, removing offending websites and seizing drugs worldwide.

The move was part of the fifth annual International Internet Week of Action, a global effort to fight the online sale and distribution of potentially counterfeit and illegal medicine.

For the complete story, please visit Reuters.
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Topics: Uncategorized, Pharmaceuticals

SMS Audio™ Turns up the Volume on its Fight Against Counterfeiting with OpSec Security, Inc.

Posted by admin on Aug 16, 2012 5:35:00 AM
50 Cent’s premier audio brand joins forces with the leader in anti-counterfeiting technologies and brand protection to deliver product authentication

(NEW YORK ) – 50 Cent’s premier audio brand, SMS Audio (www.SMSAudio.com), announces its partnership with OpSec Security, Inc. (www.OpSecSecurity.com), the global leader in anti-counterfeiting and brand protection, to develop a program that authenticates its audio products for consumers. This includes placing holographic labels with integrated security technology on select SMS Audio product packaging.
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Topics: Consumer Electronics, Consumer Goods

Klipsch Joins Forces with OpSec Security to Combat Counterfeiting

Posted by admin on Jul 18, 2012 7:43:00 AM
Global Audio Speaker Manufacturer Selects OpSec to Deliver a Proven Anti-Counterfeiting Program

Boston, Mass. — July 18, 2012 — OpSec Security, Inc., the global leader in anti-counterfeiting and brand protection, today announced that it was selected by Klipsch Group,Inc., a leading global speaker manufacturer, to implement an authentication program that will protect its products from increasing threats of counterfeiting. The program will include a holographic label with targeted security features, allowing investigators, retailers and consumers to verify the authenticity of Klipsch branded goods.
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Topics: Consumer Electronics, Consumer Goods

It's World Anti-Counterfeiting Day: Do you know where your drugs come from?

Posted by admin on Jun 7, 2012 8:50:14 AM
It's World Anti-Counterfeiting Day: Do you know where your drugs come from?.
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Topics: Uncategorized

Black Market Trade in Tickets for Euro 2012 in Full Swing

Posted by admin on May 4, 2012 2:25:42 PM

OpSec Security discovers overpriced tickets for the 2012 European football championship as well as counterfeit fan merchandise on the internet and provides tips for consumers on what to look for when buying

Munich, 2 May 2012. In just over one month, on 8 June, the 2012 European football championship kicks off in Poland and Ukraine – an event which is also used by dubious traders for some lucrative business at the fans’ cost. In their current online analysis, the trade mark protection experts at OpSec Security have found countless dodgy auctions in which overpriced tickets for the matches and fake branded shirts are on offer.

Whether it is concerts of popular bands or well-known international sporting events such as the footballing European championships, events of this type are much loved not only by consumers but also by shady traders who try and make some easy money through over inflated prices on the black market for tickets which are in high demand but short supply or through cheaply produced copies of fan merchandise. Now, in the run-up to Euro 2012, suspect offers of overpriced tickets and counterfeit fan items such as branded shirts are also turning up on the Internet. This has been shown in a current online analysis by the company, OpSec Security.

Black market ticket sales – beware of overpriced offers

The sale of Euro 2012 tickets is strictly regulated by UEFA: the purchase of the personalised tickets is only possible via the official ticket shop. Already purchased tickets may only be resold for the face value plus an administration fee but not sold at an extortionate price or auctioned. However, in spite of these rules, tickets can be found on auction sites such as eBay at prices far in excess of the official rates. At the time the random sample was examined by OpSec, there were 166 illegal offers on ebay.de, 176 on ebay.com and 53 on ebay.co.uk. In most of these cases, the tickets were offered at considerably inflated prices, in some cases at almost five times the official price. The experts at OpSec assume that the prices will rise still further in the course of the coming weeks. Particularly striking are offers where traders point out that there are no identification checks in the stadiums. However, buyers should not rely on such information. A particular contradiction and thus a clear indication that an offer is illegal, is where a trader refers in the small print to UEFA’s terms and conditions whilst simultaneously violating them through his inflated prices.

“Not only the fact that the prices are overly high should make customers wary; there is also the risk that they might end up buying fake tickets on public platforms such as eBay. Furthermore, there is a real risk that the customer will never receive the tickets he or she has bought and paid for.” commented Mechthild Imkamp, Marketing Director of OpSec Security. “Anyone wishing to get hold of a ticket for one of the matches through official and therefore legal channels, should enquire in the UEFA ticket shop which reopened at the beginning of May.”

Fake fan merchandise – how to spot illegal copies

Trade in fan items booms especially before major international sporting events. The increased demand, for instance for replica shirts of the participating teams, is also exploited by many manufacturers and sellers of fakes, chasing part of this lucrative business. Such activity was also seen around the football world cup in South Africa in 2010. Due to the trade in counterfeit fan merchandise, the number of seizures by the German border authorities rose considerably in 2010.

An increase in illegal business is also to be expected around the approaching European football championship. This can already be witnessed on the internet. Obtained in large quantities on B2B platforms such as alibaba.com, the fakes are then resold on B2C portals such as eBay. A clear indication of fraudulent activity is where companies on B2B trading sites such as alibaba.com offer every shirt in any quantity depending on the customer’s preferences. OpSec encountered numerous such offers, originating primarily from Asian companies, in the scope of its analysis. Fake shirts are usually not only of an inferior quality but also carry hidden risks to health as they may contain hazardous substances which, for examples, can trigger allergies.

In order to protect consumers from buying fake replica shirts, OpSec has compiled the following list of tips based on the suspect offers it unearthed during its research:

  1. Conspicuously low prices

If the price of a new shirt is considerably lower than that offered by the official manufacturer, there is a high possibility the shirt is a fake – even if the offer otherwise looks impressive. It is therefore advisable to first find out the usual price.

  1. Inconsistent product characteristics

If accompanying images show product characteristics which differ from those of the original – for instance colour differs or logos are missing – one can be reasonably certain that the product is a fake.

  1. The article on offer is not yet officially available

One should be sceptical and cautious if sellers offer products which are not even available yet in the manufacturer’s own official shop. If the price is also very low, one can safely assume the seller is dodgy.

  1. Seller has traded counterfeit goods in the past

Audacious traders on auction platforms who receive too many negative ratings simply create a new identity for themselves under which they continue to sell the same products. If one encounters a seller who has traded fake goods in the past, it is best to avoid buying from them.

“If someone wants to be on the safe side, they should buy a shirt for the European football championship from the official online shop of the manufacturer or from an authorised dealer,” advises Mechthild Imkamp.

About OpSec Security:

OpSec Security GmbH, based in Munich, Germany is part of OpSec Security, Inc. a wholly owned subsidiary of OpSec Security Group plc (London AIM: OSG). OpSec is the global leader in providing anti-counterfeiting technologies as well as solutions and services for offline and online brand protection to over 300 companies in various industries and over 50 governments worldwide. The OpSec Group operates manufacturing and research facilities in the USA, Great Britain and has sales operations in the Americas, Europe and Asia. For more information, visit www.opsecsecurity.de

Press Contact:


Dagmar Ungnad

Kanalstraße 38

22085 Hamburg

Tel:  +49 (0)40-29 81 35-17

Fax: +49 (0)40-29 81 35-29

Email: dagmar.ungnad@z-pr.de

Web: www.z-pr.de
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Topics: Uncategorized

Avastin Scandal Throws a Spotlight on Trade-Activity Monitoring

Posted by admin on Feb 23, 2012 5:20:19 AM
In the ongoing counterfeit Avastin scandal, it has become clear that this was not a case of products so closely mimicking legitimate product that buyers were fooled. FDA, which published photos of the fake product, noted that it has the wrong manufacturer displayed, and has obviously bogus lot numbers. Rather, the fake product simply went via a non-standard distribution chain, from (apparently) a specialty distributor into clinics and doctors’ offices. (Some doctors, especially oncologists, purchase and dispense products directly rather than sending patients to a pharmacy, as do most hospitals; the completely legal practice is known as “buy and bill.”) If the doctors buying the fake product are not profoundly negligent, then they must be extremely naïve.

For the complete story, please visit Pharmaceutical Commerce.
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Topics: Online Brand Protection, Pharmaceuticals

Press Release: Counterfeit Tablets Crowd Market as CES 2012 Kicks Off

Posted by admin on Jan 10, 2012 8:35:48 AM
With nearly 100 new tablet technologies expected to launch during this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), OpSec Security, Inc., the global leader in anti-counterfeiting and brand protection, today revealed the results of an industry snapshot that examined the prevalence of counterfeit tablets listed on popular business-to-business trade boards. E-commerce sites like Alibaba, DHgate, EC21, Made-in-China and TradeKey often provide anonymous yet attractive venues for counterfeiters to sell illicit goods in bulk at suspiciously low prices.

Key findings from this industry snapshot include:

  • Listings for Motorola’s Xoom tablet contained an average of 85,000 units per month. Given the average retail cost of the Xoom at $399, this represents a loss of over $33 million to the brand and marketplace as a whole. One such listing offers the Xoom for under $100 with the product’s photo displaying icons unique to Apple products, indicating that the product is misrepresented and should be considered suspicious.

  • The Samsung Galaxy tablet is another popular choice for counterfeiters to target. At an average retail price of $580 per unit, the total retail value of a typical listing was estimated at $69.6 million, an indication of significant potential sales loss for the actual brand. Examples of suspicious listings include photos of tablets that are similar to the design but upon further inspection, do not include the markings of the brand manufactured tablet. Additionally, the listing here shows images of the factory where employees are producing large quantities of the product.

  • Listings for the Archos Tablet offered an average of 26,000 units per month with most of the product images not showing the actual tablet. Instead, grainy images of a tablet missing the Archos trademark are presented.

  • Many of the listings include photos of legitimate products, while others, like this listing for the Amazon Kindle, are clear knock-offs. Counterfeit sellers will advertise under a brand or trademarked name hoping to make the connection between their illegal product and the real thing.

“Our analysis and experience in this market space point to the belief that tablet technologies are likely to be threatened by counterfeiters. Whether it’s through clever manipulation of photos on auction sites or simply a ‘too good to be true’ bargain, many consumers may fall prey to these scammers if not properly educated,” said Tom Taylor, president, Brand Protection, OpSec Security. “Given the number of new tablet technologies projected to debut at CES, it’s likely we will see an uptick in counterfeit tablets within weeks of the show.”

OpSec has always strived to better educate consumers on the dangers of counterfeiting and how to safeguard themselves from unknowingly purchasing substandard and potentially harmful products. With Forrester predicting that tablets will outsell Netbooks this year, OpSec offers the following advice for consumers to detect fakes tablets and avoid getting scammed:

  • Is the price too good to be true? Counterfeit tablets may be sold for less – sometimes for a third or half of the retail price. A tablet sold at heavy discount is unlikely to be the real deal. Many online resellers utilize auction websites to dupe consumers eager to obtain a bargain on the latest models. The best approach is to purchase electronics in person or directly from the manufacturer or authorized reseller online.

  • Does it look real? Knowing the colors, features, and size of the tablet can help eliminate the chances of purchasing a fake. If the tablet comes in a color that was not produced by the manufacturer or has not yet been released, this is a good indicator of a counterfeit product. Visiting the manufacturer’s website to learn about the design features and technology specifications can help discern real from fake product.

  • Is it a legitimate model? Some tablet brands have an extensive list of models. Counterfeiters may attempt to pass off a non-existing model number as an authentic product. Check if the tablet model is sold by the official manufacturer. If it does not exist on the manufacturer’s catalog or website, it is a clear sign that the tablet in question is suspicious.

  • Is there a warranty? Most consumer electronics manufacturers provide a limited warranty which covers the product, accessories and software. Typically, the product is covered for one year from date of purchase by the first consumer purchaser of the product. Authorized dealers may also offer an extended warranty. When purchasing your tablet, check that you are covered by warranty service.

About OpSec Security

OpSec Security, Inc. is a wholly-owned division of OpSec Security Group plc (London AIM: OSG). OpSec Security is the global leader in providing anti-counterfeiting technologies as well as solutions and services for physical and online brand protection to over 300 companies across industry sectors and over 50 governments worldwide. The Group operates manufacturing facilities and laboratories in the USA and the UK, and has sales operations in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. For more information, please see www.opsecsecurity.com, or contact Ashlee Spinoso, +1 617-226-3000, or aspinoso@opsecsecurity.com.


OpSec Security, Inc.
Ashlee Spinoso, 617-226-3000
PAN Communications
Susan Frechette, 617-502-4300

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Topics: Consumer Electronics

Logical Next Step: Fake Luxury-Brand Shopping Bags

Posted by admin on Dec 14, 2011 10:42:43 AM
China is known for making knock-offs, especially fake luxury goods, and counterfeiting in that country has reached a new level. That's our last word in business today. It's in the bag - just not a fancy handbag. The Chinese Daily newspaper reports that Chinese shoppers are now buying fake luxury-brand shopping bags - you know, the paper bags that make people think you've been buying things in the real Louis Vuitton or Chanel store.

The branded shopping bags can be purchased from websites and cost less than a dollar apiece. One office worker who buys the faux bags told the China Daily that she likes to use them for giving presents to friends who may or may not be disappointed when they open the actual gift.

For full story, please visit NPR.
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Topics: Consumer Goods


Posted by admin on Oct 28, 2011 7:36:56 AM
Halloween: Frightening Counterfeit Tales!

Take a look at some of this year’s spooky and scariest headlines and news in counterfeiting.

Counterfeit Vodka That Can Cause Blindness

Counterfeit vodka that can cause vision loss has been seized by trading standards officers in Swansea.  A legal case is now underway against a city shop found selling it.

Trading standards officers say it is just the latest of a number of counterfeit vodka sales and they add they have confiscated hundreds of bottles in recent years.  Vodka is featured in a long list of counterfeit items the team has confiscated in recent months
.  WalesOnline.co.uk

Your “Down” Jacket is Actually Stuffed With Mulched Chicken Feathers, Chicken Feet, Chicken Beaks and Feces

Talking about knockoff jackets with Kevin Spreekmeester, the global marketing vice president for outdoor clothing company Canada Goose, is a bit like chatting with a detective. Soft-spoken and slight, Spreekmeester is surprisingly calm, even when discussing illegal and distressing subjects.

“We know the counterfeit product is coming out of China,” he says as we examine a tomato-red jacket designed to look like one of Canada Goose’s own. “We know that child labor is involved. And we know that it funds organized crime.” If you’re like me, you’ve probably always known that buying a fake Fendi is “bad” to the degree that making and selling such fraudulent products is illegal. But it turns out that knockoffs are problematic in many other ways as well -  one such problem being counterfeit jackets stuffed with chicken parts. DailyFinance.com

Not Only Goods, But Entire Stores Being Knocked-Off

No longer are the days when only products are knocked-off.  Counterfeit Apple retail stores, complete with blue t-shirt-wearing employees claiming to work for the company, have been discovered in China. According to the blog BirdAbroad (via ifoAppleStore), several counterfeit Apple stores have popped up in Kunming, China. One such location featured a winding staircase and employees in t-shirts with Apple logos and name tags.  Apple Insider.

KUNMING, China — Nestled in a sleepy southern district of Kunming city in southwest China, is a 10,000 square metre, four-storey building that could make Swedish furniture giant Ikea uneasy.  11 Furniture, as the store is known, copies Ikea’s blue and yellow colour scheme, mock-up rooms, miniature pencils, signage and even its rocking chair designs. Its cafeteria-style restaurant, complete with minimalist wooden tables, has a familiar look, although the menu features Chinese-style braised minced pork and eggs instead of Ikea’s Swedish meatballs and salmon.  This knock-off Ikea store is emblematic of a new wave of piracy sweeping through China. Increasingly sophisticated counterfeiters no longer just pump out fake luxury handbags, DVDs and sports shoes but replicate the look, feel and service of successful Western retail concepts — in essence, pirating the entire brand experience.  Calgary Herald.

Fake Uggs Lined with Fur from Raccoon Dogs

Shocking video has surfaced which shows raccoon dogs being skinned for the purpose of making fake Ugg boots.

Warning: Graphic material

The disturbing footage, reported by The Sun, shows the raccoon dogs being killed for their fur.  The Chinese-bred animals are used for their soft fur, which substitutes for the Australian sheepskin used in authentic Uggs. Fake Uggs sell for just a fraction of the price, but those who have opted for the replicas may change their mind after learning the ugly truth about the fuzzy fur that keeps their feet warm.  Mark Jones, the UK director of Humane Society International, told the Sun: “The raccoon dogs routinely endure unspeakable suffering. They die a slow, agonising death, their bodies raw and bloody…There is no UK ban on their fur so it’s possible these phoney boots could enter the high street.” The Huffington Post.

Before You Take Another Sip, Make Sure You Known What’s Actually in Your Wine Bottle!

Chinese counterfeiters have added a new item to the production line: vintage French wine. Impossible to tell a genuine bottle from a fake one, many unsuspecting customers will remain none the wiser until their first sip. And even then, only a connoisseur may be able taste the difference.  “A bottle of wine is very easy to replicate,” Sheng Wen*, a wine seller from Shanghai, told FRANCE 24. “The counterfeiters search for original bottles in restaurant trash. Once they’ve got hold of one, they reproduce the label and replicate the bottle. They then buy mid-range bottles of wine from the supermarket, pour them into the fake bottles, and sell them.”  France24.

Fake Medicines That Not Only Make You Sicker, But Can Be Deadly

The manufacturing, distribution, and sale of counterfeit medicines pose a serious risk to consumer health.  There have been thousands of reported cases where counterfeit drugs have lead to health complications and other grave outcomes – even death. The loss of revenue and negative impact to the economy is substantial, as this nefarious industry amounts to $200 billion per year.  In 2009, the Pharmaceutical Security Institute released a study depicting the industry as a growing “money machine,” as sales of counterfeit medicines nearly double the amount generated by legitimate pharmacies.  “You can make more money in counterfeit drugs than heroin,” Tom Kubic, CEO of PSI, told USA Today.” There’s a major financial incentive for criminals because of the low risk of detection and prosecution.” Many counterfeit products are manufactured in Asia, and are distributed around the world. This illicit trade even occurs in developing countries where life-threatening diseases are most prevalent. In Africa, an estimated 100,000 people per year are killed by fake or altered anti-malarials, and some 85 percent of the continent’s population has taken substandard pharmaceuticals purchased from rogue pharmacists on the streets or in markets.  The Dangers of Counterfeit Pharmaceuticals.

To report counterfeit medicine or to learn about accredited pharmacies, visit FDA.gov or napb.net.

Learn about OpSec’s Brand Protection solutions, and join our Get Real! Facebook page to stay up to date on the latest in anti-counterfeiting pharmaceutical news and legislation.
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Topics: Luxury Goods, Pharmaceuticals, Consumer Goods


Posted by admin on Oct 28, 2011 6:26:50 AM
Seminars investigate best practices from landmark cases including Roger Cleveland Golf Company, Inc. v. Prince and The North Face Apparel Corp. and PRL USA Holdings, Inc. v. Fujian Sharing, et al.
Boston, MA — OpSec Security, Inc., the global leader in anti-counterfeiting and brand protection, today announced it has launched its Landmark IP Litigation Series, bringing together industry leaders and executives to address how businesses can prevent the damaging effects of counterfeiting. Each seminar provides in-depth analysis on landmark cases, specific developments, challenges, and corresponding best practices on how brands can implement a strategy for protecting their intellectual property.

“Counterfeiting continues to grow across all industries, taking a huge toll on businesses in the U.S. and around the world,” said Tom Taylor, president of Brand Protection for OpSec Security. “To combat it, businesses must be aware of the tools necessary to prevent this illicit activity, and to take action should they fall victim. With our Landmark IP Litigation Series, our goal is to bring industry and legal experts together to highlight successful cases and expand awareness.”

The first seminar in the series, which took place in Boston on October 4, 2011, reviewed Roger Cleveland Golf Company, Inc. v. Prince, which is the first verdict against a web hosting services provider for contributory infringement without prior notification of counterfeit sales from a third party. During the seminar, panelists from Cleveland Golf/Srixon and the Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP trial team provided an overview of the case, enforcement strategy and implications of the judgment. The outcome of this case indicates that SEO, web hosting, and other web service companies should consider taking proactive steps to stop infringing sales when they know or should have known that these illegal sales are occurring on the web sites they support.

The first seminar in OpSec’s Landmark IP Litigation Series can be viewed here. OpSec is currently planning additional events, including the second seminar, which will take place in New York, NY on November 2, 2011:

The North Face Apparel Corp. and PRL USA Holdings, Inc. v. Fujian Sharing, et al.

In December 2010, The North Face and Polo Ralph Lauren obtained a precedent-setting contempt order against Chinese online counterfeiters, which granted the companies authority to swiftly shut down websites selling counterfeit goods, transfer the domains and seize proceeds from counterfeit sales. One year later, the companies have taken down thousands of websites and recouped significant monies that more than offset the costs of the program. The powers granted by this order help equalize the Internet playing field and make this type of order the single most effective tool for brand owners against the growing number of online counterfeiters.

Featured panelists will offer unique perspectives on the strategy that was used in the successful litigation of the case and share insights on the enforcement strategy, legal proceedings, Internet intelligence and field investigations used to build the case.

WHO: Ellen Brooks - Director, US Trademark Enforcement, Legal Department, Ralph Lauren Corporation
G. Roxanne Elings - Co-Chair, Trademarks/Brand Management Group, Intellectual Property & Technology, Greenberg Traurig, LLP
Alina Halloran - Vice President, Online Brand Protection, OpSec Security, Inc.
Evan McWilliams - Manager, Loss Prevention and Safety, VF Outdoor Americas
Randall Rabenold - Owner, Vaudra Ltd

WHEN: Wednesday, November 2, 2011, 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

WHERE: Greenberg Traurig, LLP, MetLife Building, 200 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10166, 15th Floor

Attendees are eligible for 1.0 CLE Accreditation, pending approval in CA, NJ and NY. RSVP to marketing@opsecsecurity.com or call 617.226.3000 x4010. To sign up for the online webinar, register here.

Follow the conversation on Twitter with @BrandSecure via #opsecipseries

About OpSec Security
OpSec Security, Inc. is a wholly-owned division of OpSec Security Group plc (London AIM: OSG). OpSec Security is the global leader in providing anti-counterfeiting technologies as well as solutions and services for physical and online brand protection to over 300 companies across industry sectors and over 50 governments worldwide. The Group operates manufacturing facilities and laboratories in the USA and the UK, and has sales operations in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. For more information, please see www.opsecsecurity.com, or contact Terri Mock, +1 617-226-3000, or tmock@opsecsecurity.com.
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Topics: Counterfeiting