Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Siem Reap raids net counterfeit North Face gear

Siem Reap raids net counterfeit North Face gear

People load a sack of counterfeit North Face products onto a truck after police raided a shop in Siem Reap province on Friday.
People load a sack of counterfeit North Face products onto a truck after police raided a shop in Siem Reap province on Friday. TOM YESBERGER

Siem Reap raids net counterfeit North Face gear

Three raids were conducted on stores selling counterfeit products from American outdoor apparel and equipment brand The North Face in Siem Reap last week, highlighting rising copyright and trademark infringement issues in Cambodia.

The raids, conducted by Siem Reap’s economic police, were the result of a complaint from The North Face in April, after which an investigation was carried out at three different locations.

The case has now been handed over to court in Siem Reap.

“Last week we raided three shops in the Old Market area, Pub Street and Central Market. These shops were operating against the Trademark Law by selling counterfeit products,” said Soeun Sem, chief of the Siem Reap Economic Police.

He added that the three shops were selling fake backpacks and T-shirts, and that one person was detained during the raids for questioning.

After clearing the stores of the counterfeit goods they were allowed to continue to selling other products.

One of the stores was even designed to look exactly like a genuine North Face store in the United States.

Given Cambodia’s large garment and footwear industry, the incident has raised concerns among trademark protection and enforcement experts in Cambodia.

Joseph Lovell, managing partner at BNG Legal, said that given the economy’s development it was not surprising to see a rise in fake goods and designer clothing being sold.

He added that international brands are very careful of such cases, as it can damage their brand image.

“They are worried about their reputation because their brands get attached to inferior goods,” he said. “Then that is an image problem.”

According to Lovell, Cambodia’s Trademark Law has been in place for a while, but many brands find it cumbersome to take such cases to court and sue for damages.

“If you are going against someone small then it’s not worth it. If you find a factory or manufacturer doing it then you can pursue it,” Lovell said.

American companies are worried about the sale and production of counterfeit goods, said Bretton Sciaroni, senior partner at law firm Sciaroni and Associates.

He said that while many companies are unaware of these products being produced, enforcement authorities have been working to crack down on such activities.

“Although the government authorities are getting better at enforcement of intellectual property issues, we still have much to do here to protect branded goods,” Sciaroni added.

In a weekly column last week, US Ambassador William Todd said that by strengthening intellectual property rights laws in Cambodia, the Kingdom will send a “positive message” to prospective compa nies looking to invest.

“As with many rule of law issues, better protection of IPR promotes economic growth by attracting investment and increasing competitiveness,” Ambassador Todd wrote.

He said that the embassy had organised intellectual property rights workshops in Cambodia and planned to send local prosecutors and officials for training at the US Patent and Trademark Office.

The Intellectual Property Department at the Ministry of Commerce could not be reached for comment.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY THIK KALIYANN

MOST VIEWED

  • Research key to Kanitha’s rep for expertise

    Sok Kanitha is used to weighing in on controversial issues using a confident approach that signals expertise and authority, and a recent video she made was no exception. Her “Episode 342: The History of NATO” video went live on January 16, 2023 and immediately shot to 30,000 likes and 3,500

  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Knockout! Kun Khmer replaces ‘Muay’ for Phnom Penh Games

    Cambodia has decided to officially remove the word Muay from the programme of the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games 2023 in May. “Kun Khmer” will instead be used to represent the Southeast Asian sport of kickboxing, in accordance with the wishes of the Cambodian people. Vath

  • Artificial insemination takes herd from 7 to 700

    Some farms breed local cows or even import bulls from a broad for the purpose of breeding heavier livestock for meat production. One Tbong Khnum farmer has found a more efficient way. Hout Leang employs artificial insemination to fertilise local cows. Thanks to imported “straws”

  • New int’l airport nearly half complete as travel industry returns to life

    Construction of a new airport that is slated to serve the capital has passed the 43 per cent completion mark, raising prospects for a proper recovery in the civil aviation and tourism sectors as international travellers return to the Kingdom in increasingly large numbers. The figure

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,