Consumers are being warned to be vigilant when buying designer bags and purses on online community selling websites after Australian Border Force (ABF) officers intercepted a significant consignment of counterfeit items imported by an Australian woman returning from Bali.
Officers located 129 counterfeit bags, purses and backpacks – mostly Mimco and Louis Vuitton copies – during a full baggage examination at Perth International Airport on 6 March 2020.
The woman, aged 31 who lives in Hobart in Tasmania, told officers the bags, backpacks and purses were “for family and friends”, but the ABF suspects she was planning to sell them online.
Registered trademarks in Australia protect Mimco and Louis Vuitton brands.
The ABF detained the items and issued a seizure notice to the woman on 13 March. The items were subsequently forfeited and will now be disposed of.
The ABF enforces intellectual property rights through Australia’s Notice of Objection Scheme, which allows officers to seize importations of counterfeit and pirated goods at the border.
Intellectual Property refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions, literary and artistic works, designs, symbols, names and images used in commerce. Australian law protects intellectual property including trademarks, copyright, and protected insignia such as Olympic and major sporting event indicia and images.
Handbags are among the most commonly seized counterfeit and pirated goods at the border, along with mobile phones and accessories, car parts and accessories, clothing, shoes, DVDs, watches and toys.
ABF Assistant Secretary for Customs and Trade Policy, Matthew Duckworth, said consumers of counterfeit or pirated goods were paying a premium for inferior products.
“Consumers can do their part to help combat counterfeiting by not purchasing from unofficial sites or sources and by taking care not to bring pirated goods back into Australia when returning from overseas. Think about what you are really buying,” Assistant Secretary Duckworth said.
“Counterfeit and pirated goods not only rob legitimate businesses of income, they threaten the livelihoods of Australian workers, and, in some cases, pose real health and safety risks.
“As Australia’s customs service, the ABF has made trade enforcement a leading operational priority.
“The ABF takes seriously the importation of counterfeit and pirated goods. Our Customs compliance officers are dedicated to identifying breaches of Intellectual Property rights at the border.”