It’s not just the food and the rides that draw people annually to the CNE. Some go for the chance to pick up designer goods for rock bottom prices. Only problem is, some of those goods may be counterfeit and companies are trying to crack down on those doling out the illegal products.
Civil cease and desist letters were served by licensed private investigators to several CNE booths on Saturday to stop vendors from selling counterfeit products.
Lorne Lipkus, a lawyer representing several of the brands being targeted by these counterfeit products, said this is the first step to taking these potentially hazardous products off the market.
“The licensed investigators were there to explain that what these people were doing was wrong, it was illegal,” said Lipkus. “(The vendors) were being given an opportunity to voluntarily comply not to sell these products again.”
The knock-off products included designer bags, such as Michael Kors, as well as high-end sunglasses.
Lipkus said the letters were issued so that people, who perhaps don’t know what they’re going is illegal or don’t understand the seriousness or the ramifications of their actions, can comply without charges being laid.
“What they’re doing, at an essence, is fraud,” said Lipkus. “But it’s also various charges under the trademarks act. They could be charged with being in possession or property that was obtained through crime.”
He added that this is not the first time they have had to deal with counterfeit products being sold at the CNE but that it isn’t unusual for vendors to omit certain products they will be selling, or change the name of their store, on their application.
When asked about the selling of counterfeit goods, the CNE released the following statement:
“The CNE strictly prohibits the sale of any counterfeit merchandise, illegal products and/or firearms. A Retail Review Committee requires every vendor to submit a full list of products intended for sale; and CNE officials are in full cooperation with investigators to monitor and enforce our anti-counterfeit policy as best we can during the fair to protect the interests of our customers. Any information that is received about counterfeit products at the CNE is immediately reported to the authorities, and vendors in breach of this regulation are not permitted to return as an exhibitor.”
Lipkus said that should the vendors not comply with the cease and desist documents they will bring the information they have collected during their investigation to police and a request will be made, on behalf of several brands, to lay charges.
He added that since none of the counterfeiters keep records, there’s no telling just how much money companies are losing.