Authorities foil plans for production of counterfeit footwear brands

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MEXICO CITY -- While apparently searching for drugs at the port of Manzanillo, Mexican authorities have uncovered material and equipment to set up a counterfeit footwear factory.

Government inspectors found metal presses, plastic molds and shoe samples in three containers on the ship B/M Santos, which had arrived from Puerto Quetzal in Guatemala.

They seized seven metal presses with the Nike logo and another seven with Reebok's, along with plastic molds for the Fila, Adidas, Nike, Tauro, B.K., Sperry, Coco Beach, Iweg and Reebok brands.

The shipment also included a box filled with sample sneakers of Nike, Jordache, Reebok, Fila, Sperry, Adidas, and other brands, according to a statement from the Colima state office of the Federal Attorney General's office (PGR).

The PGR said it believed the materials were destined to set-up a large scale counterfeit factory.

Representatives from Reebok in Mexico could not be reached for comment. But Nike Mexico's Marketing Director Eduardo Casas says: "Counterfeiting in Mexico is something that is way out of control and the government is not doing much to support industry."

The production, sale and trafficking in pirated goods is a growing problem here, affecting not just footwear and clothing manufacturers but also the video, film, and music industries. Pirated goods cost legitimate businesses millions of dollars in lost sales each year and help sustain the growing informal economy.

Copyright October 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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