US Marshalls bust Counterfeiters at World’s Top Auto Show

Each and every year, the world’s aftermarket fraternity gathers in Vegas for the Speciality Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show, the place to go to get the coolest and latest aftermarket gadgets and accessories for your ride. Now the show has taken a slightly darker turn after six Chinese exhibitors were arrested by US Marshalls for showcasing fake and counterfeit products – allegedly, that is.

As the show opened, the fake goods were spotted by the world’s largest manufacturer of Jeep accessories, Omix-Ada, on the stands of Unity 4WD Accessories Company, who come from Guangzhou in China, and another unnamed company in the South Hall of the exhibition, both of which had subpoenas served on them, and goods and products seized. A further raid was conducted on four companies at the associated AAPEX show across town.

In a statement on the Omix-Ada blog, Henk Van Dogen, Omix-Ada’s Director of Marketing, said that counterfeiting had been becoming an increasing problem over the past year and they had consulted SEMA and AAPEX on how they could combat the issue without upsetting the industry.

The raid took place just as the doors opened on the second day of the show. Apparently it had only taken Omix-Ada the one day to identify the fakes and get a sympathetic judge to issue the subpoenas, which caught the counterfeiters by surprise. Omix-Ada plan to pursue the companies in question and all six will have to appear in court in three weeks’ time for a hearing. If found guilty, the companies in question will not be allowed to exhibit at SEMA or AAPEX again.

In the blog statement (mentioned above), Van Dogen stated, “We’ll have to see how far we can legally pursue the companies that we dealt with today and we’re going to be vigilant going forward. It’s slow going. We’re just getting started with this but you can see we are focused on it. It’s a little like playing whack a mole, and hopefully if we whack them one time too many, then they won’t be coming back.”

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