The knives are out for counterfeiters trying to carve out a niche in the cutlery trade. In a rare move, the High Court has granted the makers of the well-known kitchen knife Miracle Blade a civil search warrant to raid the Hong Kong offices of three rival companies, believed to be producing counterfeit versions of the product. During the raids, lawyers and private detectives recently seized several shipments of counterfeit knives and documents as part of an ongoing crackdown on patent pirates trying to exploit better-known brand names. Miracle Blade, headquartered in California, is best known for selling its knives and related products via direct response television and other marketing channels, earning more than US$100 million in sales in more than 40 countries. 'It sends the signal that the knives are out for counterfeiters,' Sebastian Hughes, a lawyer representing the company, said yesterday. He said the original knife set sold with a wooden block was a distinctive product, making it easier to prove the claim. 'This civil search warrant is the most aggressive weapon that owners of intellectual property rights have in Hong Kong,' said Mr Hughes, a senior associate with Hong Kong law firm Lovells. 'It was a landmark decision in that the granting of three of these orders together is very rare. 'It is a very intrusive warrant which allows us to knock on their office door and say we have a court order to search the office and go through their files. 'In all three cases we found infringing knives and knife blocks and a lot of incriminating documents and, in particular, we found they were in process of arranging a mail-out to customers.' He said the injunctions were the result of three separate orders in the High Court against firms HSM, MARS and Global Success. They enabled Miracle Blade's lawyers to enter and search the premises of all three defendants. As a result of the pre-emptive legal action, the three firms were prevented from completing any sales of their pirated products. Lovells partner Doug Clark said: 'It is pleasing to see the Hong Kong High Court taking steps to uphold the rights of intellectual property owners. It is crucial that creators of innovative and successful products such as Miracle Blade are able to protect their intellectual property rights in court.' The California firm has embarked on a campaign to protect its intellectual property, fighting counterfeiters, manufacturers and sellers of copied products in Hong Kong and on the mainland. 'These types of operations will not be tolerated and we will do everything in our power to protect the business,' a Miracle Blade executive said.