An infringement of a trademark may, as well as being actionable in civil law as an intellectual property claim, amount to a criminal offence for which a prosecution may follow and, in the event of the defendant(s) being found guilty, the court will have to consider the appropriate punishment.
Offences are committed in many ways such as, for instance, an employee engaged by a legitimate business who decides, unbeknown to his employer, to use the employer’s facilities to produce and sell fake goods or an organised crime group dealing on a massive scale in fake branded goods.
The Sentencing Guidelines Counsel has launched a consultation in respect of proposed new Sentencing Guidelines (‘the new guidelines’) for convicted offenders and which will differ from those which were published in 2009 and are used extensively only in the Magistrates’ Courts in respect of individuals.
Suki Randhawa of Kangs Solicitors comments upon the proposals.
Our award-winning team of solicitors is nationally recognised for its work in Intellectual Property infringement investigations and matters involving trademark and copyright breaches with both criminal and civil implications.
If any matters within this article affect you it is essential that you seek immediate expert advice and guidance.
For an initial no obligation consultation, please contact our team at any of our offices detailed below:
The Proposals | Kangs Criminal and Civil Trademark Infringement Teams
- It is proposed that the new guidelines will cover offences relating to possessing counterfeit goods or possessing the means of counterfeiting goods with a view of making a gain or causing a loss.
- The new guidelines will apply both to individuals and organisations in England and Wales.
In relation to both individuals and companies, it is proposed that the following will be considered:
- culpability – in order to determine the extent of the offender’s role and the extent and sophistication of the planning involved in the commission of the offence.
- harm – taking into account the value of the offending, with reference to the value of equivalent genuine goods and assessing any significant additional harm suffered by the trademark’s owner and/or purchasers of the counterfeit goods.
- Category 1 will reflect the most serious level where the financial loss is at least £1 million.
- Where for individuals the offence falls into Category 1, with culpability being at its highest, the starting point for sentencing will be five imprisonment.
- For an organisation falling into the same category as above, the starting point for sentencing is a fine of £250,000.
How Can We Help? | Kangs Trading Standards Defence Solicitors
The team at Kangs Solicitors has a wealth of experience and knowledge in dealing with trademark and copyright offences and investigations of all nature at both criminal and civil levels.
We can assist at the initial interview stage as well as at any stage following interview under caution.
As can be seen from the above, the proposed new guidelines for criminal conduct relating to trademark infringements are severe and if you are concerned about your position, it is essential that you seek immediate expert guidance.
Our team can be contacted through any of the following who would be more than happy to discuss the situation with you: