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Dealing in Counterfeit Goods? It Could Cost You More than Money

Ignoring the intellectual property rights of others can be a road to financial ruin and ultimately to imprisonment. In one case, a trader who dealt in fake designer clothing on an industrial scale was jailed for 10 months and stripped of both his bogus stock and his ill-gotten gains.

The trader was prosecuted after trading standards officers discovered stockpiles of counterfeit clothes, bearing such brand names as Nike, Adidas and Ralph Lauren, at two warehouses. He was jailed after being convicted of five trade mark offences. His stock was seized and he was ordered to contribute £14,000 towards the costs of his prosecution. He also received a £200,000 confiscation order.

He challenged his convictions before the Court of Appeal, also pleading for a reduction in the financial orders. He said that he was in such dire straits that he had had to sell his home and was in danger of losing the car in which he drove his children to school. In rejecting his challenge, however, the Court found that he had faced a strong case and that there was nothing unsafe about the jury’s verdicts. The costs and confiscation orders also could not be impugned.