WATERFORD was one of five counties in which Gardaí, co-ordinated by the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (GNCBI), conducted 14 investigations regarding the sale of counterfeit and copyrighted goods.
This was part of ‘Operation Aphrodite III’, a Europol co-ordinated probe in which the GNCBI and the Italian Finance Corps (Guardia di Finanza) played lead roles in targeting Intellectual Property (IP) rights infringements in over 20 European states.
In terms of Ireland, Gardaí, with the support of “specific industry partners”, carried out investigations in Waterford, Tipperary, Dublin, Laois and Mayo, “involved targeting the online sale and advertising (including through social media) of illicit television products”.
A total of 6,340 suspected counterfeit or copyrighted items/materials were seized by officers, including, suspected counterfeit computer batteries and accessories, phone parts and accessories, various types of clothing including sportswear and footwear, and illicit set top boxes.
No less than 4,000 illicit set top boxes in three searches undertaken in both the Midlands and Dublin whole two of the searches targeted wholesale level distributors.
Investigation files are now being prepared for submission to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for consideration, relating to suspected breaches of the provisions of Section 140 of the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000 and Section 92 of the Trademarks Act 1996 (Counterfeiting).
During the operation, “the input coordinated through GNBCI resulted in a total of 4,200 websites selling copyrighted materials across the European Union and beyond being identified” according to a Garda spokesperson.