Recent jail terms for the counterfeiting of goods, after a financial investigation by the Intellectual Property Office, show clearly the dangers of dealing in goods which are counterfeit or breach the trade marks or other intellectual property (IP) rights of others.
A church warden and his wife who made more than £1 million in illicit profits have received prison sentences after admitting selling fake BMW merchandise worth millions of pounds. Having previously made profits of nearly £10,000 a week, they are now in prison, each having been sentenced to serve two years.
The couple imported a whole range of fake branded goods from South East Asia and sold them on eBay, funding a luxury lifestyle. After their convictions, police seized assets – including sports cars – under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. Prosecutors have also requested a confiscation of further assets, which have an estimated value in excess of £1 million.
In addition, it is possible that BMW may seek to recover its losses from the couple. The civil law allows the owners of design rights such as trade marks that are infringed to recover the profit they have lost as a result.