PROTECTING intellectual property rights took on a whole new meaning for Australian Border Force officers in Perth recently when they seized a consignment of fake Rubik’s Cube toys.

It didn’t take the officers long to work out the consignment of more than 500 cubes, imported by sea from Hong Kong to Fremantle, were in breach of trademarks covering Rubik’s Cube, one of the best-selling toys in the world.

The ABF enforces intellectual property rights through Australia’s Notice of Objection Scheme, which enables it to seize importations of counterfeit and pirated goods at the border.

Intellectual property refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions, literary and artistic works, designs, symbols, names and images used in commerce. Australian law protects intellectual property including trademarks, copyright, and protected insignia such as Olympic and major sporting event indicia and images.

The counterfeit and pirated goods most commonly seized at the border include mobile phones and accessories, car parts and accessories, clothing, handbags, shoes, DVDs, watches and toys.

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ABF assistant secretary for customs and border revenue, Matthew Duckworth, said the importation of counterfeit or pirated goods was not a victimless crime as many people believed.

“Counterfeit and pirated goods not only rob legitimate businesses of income, they threaten the livelihoods of Australian workers, and, in some cases, present a risk to the health and safety of consumers,” Mr Duckworth said.

“Consumers buying counterfeit and pirated goods are not only receiving a flawed and potentially dangerous product, but are also supporting the black economy, with the sale of counterfeit and pirated goods often linked with other criminal activities and the funding of criminal enterprises.”

The fake cubes have been officially forfeited by the importer and will now be disposed of.

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