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Phuket Opinion: Maybe you’re getting a bargain

PHUKET: Let’s step back in time to the late ’90s and early 2000s when a large amount of Thailand’s tourism revenue came from one particular group of travellers, – namely backpackers. Many would come here with empty backpacks to fill with clothes to wear throughout their holiday. Of course the most popular choice of clothing was counterfeit branded goods, for which Thailand was, and still is, well known. It is an industry that has long put money into the pockets of locals, albeit illegally.

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By The Phuket News

Sunday 6 August 2017, 09:00AM


Security personnel walk past a vendor during a raid for counterfeit goods at a market last week. Photo: Eakkapop Thongtub

Security personnel walk past a vendor during a raid for counterfeit goods at a market last week. Photo: Eakkapop Thongtub

Back then it would be very rare to read of raids carried out on outlets selling counterfeit goods, but today, pretty much every month you’ll read a about a raid being carried out on some particular place selling said counterfeit goods.

Only those officials who are involved in the raids know why they target any particular place, for readers it’s left to their imagination, and we pretty much know what your thoughts are. But what left this writer bemused was the most recent raid carried out by officers from the Department of Intellectual Property’s Phuket office at the Chao Fah Variety Market, better known by locals as the Naka Weekend Market, last Saturday (July 29).

You can go to this market on any given weekend and find sunglasses, denim, T-shirts, shorts, audio speakers, trainers, football kits, perfumes, handbags, purses, music CDs, DVDs and so on – all of them counterfeit goods.

So, why so bemused? Maybe because in last week’s raid, led by Phuket Provincial Defence Office Chief Sivach Rawangkul, and joined by officers from the military’s Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC), security personnel from the Royal Thai Navy Third Area Command as well as Wichit Police, all they managed to find was three shops selling illegally trademarked goods and only one vendor was arrested.

QSI International School Phuket

Look at the above list of commonly counterfeited goods; many are sold by vendors who sell only counterfeits, while others are thrown in with a variety of other items which are not counterfeit. But for officials to say they only found three outlets selling counterfeit goods is a joke.

If I went walking in the market this weekend, what’s the bet that I could find far more than three stalls selling counterfeit goods?

Or maybe I’ve got it all wrong, maybe they really are the genuine article, and I’m actually getting a great bargain for my money.

 

 

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Jor12 | 08 August 2017 - 15:48:19

Rorri_2...I did say that the law on copyright is a minefield and with a number of exceptions. One of the exceptions in the Berne convention is that a person is not deemed to be infringing on a copyright if the act is not in conflict with a normal exploitation of the copyright work and is not unreasonably prejudicing the legitimate interests of the copyright owner. So, if you're an investigator...

Rorri_2 | 07 August 2017 - 17:29:08

Jor12. your first paragraph raises a few questions, at these markets there are no signs indicating any trading name, surely a intelligent investigator would locate the wholesaler, the one who actually imports these products, then on sells to retailers. Now, if a dumbarse, like me, can think of that then surely someone in the  Department of Intellectual Property’s Phuket office could, but then th...

Jor12 | 06 August 2017 - 21:49:35

CaptainJack69...It would appear that certain sellers of counterfeit goods were targeted by authorities at the specific request of the copyright holder rather than having to save face. Most consumers don't care if the goods they buy are counterfeit but just want to buy inexpensive products.

The area of copyright law is a minefield. For example, generally, it’s not illegal to resell an ite...

CaptainJack69 | 06 August 2017 - 12:50:41

Because all that matters under the Thai 'system' is face. The Department of Intellectual Property wanted to earn face by getting their name and some of their officer's pictures in the paper. Lets be honest, most people probably didn't know they even existed so it makes sense for them to drum up some publicity from time to time.  It would of course be nice if they could do so by act...

simon01 | 06 August 2017 - 09:17:37

Its the same in any town in Phuket. Just 5 minutes walking around you can see 20 such places. In places like Patong you dont even have to walk as more than three will bring the goods to you while you sit and have drink or meal. But as the report states its common knowledge why some vendors are targeted and others left alone. But to claim there were only three is only three vendors selling these ty...

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