Trademark Law

Higher penalties for selling counterfeit goods introduced

The German parliament has introduced tougher penalties for those who produce counterfeit goods. The new measures mean that crimes such as trademark or product piracy will no longer be classified as minor offences.

Higher penalities for selling counterfeit goods © ferkelraggae-Fotolia

Higher penalities for selling counterfeit goods © ferkelraggae-Fotolia

Prison for counterfeiters

Pirates who breach trademark laws on a commercial scale will in future face a prison sentence of three months.

Previously counterfeiters incurred a small fine which regularly bore no correlation to the profit made from falsifying the products in question.

The new penalties will ensure that the sale of counterfeit goods is no longer a risk-free profitable business.

Consumers who purchase and resell pirated goods will continue to not face any sanctions.

The sale of counterfeit goods in the course of business will continue to be punishable by a maximum three year prison sentence or by fine.

Better protection for consumers

The aim of the new measures is to provide consumers with better protection from dangerous goods.

In 2012 customs officers confiscated 100,000 counterfeit toys containing harmful substances. Counterfeit goods are often difficult to recognise and therefore represent a serious risk to health.

The German Brands Association (Markenverband) welcomed the new German parliament’s decision: “This is an important step in achieving better protection for businesses and consumers. We congratulate the German parliament.”

Christian Solmecke is a partner at the law firm WILDE BEUGER SOLMECKE. He is the author of numerous legal publications in the area of internet and IT law. He is also an associate lecturer for social media law at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences.

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