About 17,000 fake watches were seized from a Dubai apartment as part of a raid following an investigation by a trade association representing Swiss watch manufacturers.
The Bern-based Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FSWI) sent investigators to Dubai in a bid to crack down on the supply of fake watches into Europe and to track down those involved in the manufacturing of counterfeit pieces.
Owners of designer clothing stores, gaming distributors and music shops in Dubai have for some time been calling for better regulations to tackle the issues of piracy and counterfeit products. Companies said their revenues take hits where imports of counterfeit goods remain undetected, dropping between 20 and 60 percent due to lower sales.
The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) represents the worldwide music industry and has closed 300,000 illegal Web sites, but it is still missing in the Middle East.
Dubai Customs data documented 689 cases of intellectual property infringement in 2010. The majority of smugglers use the airport to bring in counterfeit goods, and shipments include anything from CDs, DVDs, shoes, clothes, telephones, baggage and watches, to construction equipment, car parts and food supplements.