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In a warning to traders that those who deal in counterfeit goods are at risk of losing their liberty, a market stall holder who was caught offering for sale fake Apple mobile phone chargers and USB leads has failed in an appeal against a 13-month prison sentence.
The trader was jailed after pleading guilty to unauthorised use of the Apple trade mark. He was also in breach of a suspended sentence imposed earlier for similar offences. He admitted to trading standards officers that one charger had been returned by a customer after it was found to smoke when plugged in.
He pleaded guilty, but claimed that the offence was not deliberate. His lawyers argued that his punishment was manifestly excessive. However, in dismissing his challenge, the Court of Appeal ruled that “those who sell goods with unauthorised trade marks are dishonestly exploiting and taking advantage of the reputation of the owners of the trade mark”.
The judge commented, “The extent of the offending in the present case was undoubtedly limited and, on the basis of plea, his offending was reckless and not deliberate. However, this was not a first offence. We have come to the conclusion that an immediate custodial sentence was clearly appropriate for this offending”.
As well as the possibility of a copyright owner bringing a claim for damages for commercial loss, the sale of counterfeit goods is a criminal offence.
If your business is damaged by others making unauthorised use of your designs, copyright or other intellectual property, contact us for advice.