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Levy's Battles Alleged Chinese Trademark Violators

Harvey Levy, vice president of Levy's Leathers, recently got an upsetting phone call from his company's Chinese distributor, Ivan Music.

The distributor informed him that Chinese retailers were complaining that they could purchase Levy's Leathers product for significantly less than Ivan Music's price. The product, it turned out, was counterfeit Levy's straps, but it had the same look, logo and packaging — down to the hangtag with Levy's nephew's photo.

"It's blatant," Levy said, adding that his company's trademark has been registered in China, Hong Kong and Japan, among other countries outside of Levy's home base in Canada.

"I told my nephew, 'You're famous in the Orient.'"

On March 22, Levy announced that his company hired law firm Baker & McKenzie to curb the alleged counterfeiters. According to a statement from Levy, the firm will begin by reviewing China-based online auction websites that serve as platforms for intellectual property infringements.

"A review of several of these sites shows an array of Levy's designs and Levy's-like designs using copies of Levy's POP materials and display hangers, which would lead the consumer to believe they are purchasing Levy's product," the statement read.

"I've also heard that other North American manufacturers are seeing their counterfeits in Europe and the U.K.," Levy told Music Inc. "I can only imagine it won't be too long until that's true for Levy's, as well, so I'm trying to nip it in the bud."