Interview of Alan Chiu, our Managing Partner, by World Trademark Review


Our Managing Partner, Alan Chiu, recently shared his views with Timothy Au, reporter with World Trademark Review, on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in boosting counterfeit seizures. During the interview, he also highlighted the problem of infringers’ increasing use of small packages to move counterfeits.


According to a recent news report in SCMP, customs authorities in Hong Kong have managed to increase the seizure rate of fake goods by one-third in the first half of 2018, with the use of AI – a new supercomputer.


Talking to World Trademark Review, Alan said he believes that AI and big data analytics are going to gain momentum in the fight against fakes. “They will continue to improve the efficiency of the work of customs, at least in terms of detection rate,” said Alan.


Regarding the issue of tackling counterfeits on the street level, while agreeing that the situation has vastly improved, Alan takes the view that infringers have become more sophisticated by selling imitation products without trademarks, making enforcement actions very difficult. “Brand owners need to devise more cost-efficient enforcement strategies and to think outside the box more often.”


He also insisted that the focus should be on the digital environment as 8 out of 10 cases he handled last year involved the internet.


“With the proliferation of e-commerce – especially platforms such as Alibaba, Taobao, Tmall and – there has been an influx of counterfeits from Mainland China into Hong Kong by way of small parcels. Customs’ efforts should not only be limited to policing local Hong Kong internet sites, but also through collaborating more with Mainland China’s customs officials, as well as other jurisdictions, on how to exchange information more regularly and tackle online counterfeit imports and export more effectively,” he added.


On the possibility of using more advanced technologies for detection or increasing the rate of manual inspections or even imposing a higher penalty for exporting fakes in China and importing fakes into Hong Kong, Alan said “These are important issues that should be addressed without delay. It is an area where we have to think outside the box and join the efforts of brand owners and customs to lobby and push for a workable solution.”


The World Trademark Review’s article titled “AI boosts counterfeit seizures in Hong Kong: expert claims focus should be on small package detection” was published on 8 Aug 2018. To read the full article, please visit: