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Crackdown vowed on soccer-club trademark violations

THE INTELLECTUAL Property Department has vowed to stringently suppress violations of football clubs' trademarks after discovering a large amount of pirated Manchester United Football Club merchandise.

Deputy Commerce Minister Nuttawut Saikuar said the ministry has sent officials to inspect markets and stadiums that hold football games for any violations of international trademarks.

The move came after the ministry arrested three traders for selling products that violated Man U's trademark outside Rajamangala National Stadium when the English Premier League team played a local side there on July 13. A total of 1,466 counterfeit goods were seized. The value of the trademark infringement has been put at up to Bt3 million.

Nuttawut said that the ministry has also asked for cooperation from all retailers, asking them to stop selling fake souvenirs and products that infringe on any trademark, international or local.

"The department has cooperated with police, and officials will send more teams and stringently suppress any violations during the three upcoming football matches in Thailand involving world-class teams Chelsea, Liverpool and Barcelona.

Nuttawut said the government would continue to crack down on intellectual property rights infringement, in particular souvenirs and shirts of global sport teams, in order to increase the confidence of copyright owners to do business in the Kingdom.

The department is also working to suppress the production of fake products of Thai football teams, which are becoming increasingly popular.

The department's data showed 8,963 fake goods violating sports-team copyrights were seized during the first seven months of the year, with people from 40 enterprises being arrested. The most common areas where arrests have been made include stadiums, Rong Kluea Market in Sa Kaew, Chiang Mai's Night Bazaar, and Bangkok's Yaowaraj Rd, Bobae Tower, kiosks in front of CentralWorld Shopping Mall, Silom Rd, Watergate St and Chatuchak Market.


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