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Thursday, 10 November 2011

Importation of fakes for personal use in Denmark: when YES becomes NØ

The IPKat has long admired the Danes for their humanity, their courage, dogs, their design skills -- and in particular for their ability to pronounce their own language. He now salutes a recent Danish legal initiative, reported in an article "Dømt for at købe Rolex-kopi på nettet", which seems to him to make good sense. For those whose Danish is not quite perfect, the IPKat's friend Nathan Wajsman explains:
"Basically, a private individual bought a fake Rolex watch online. The watch was seized in customs, and the case went to court.  Although it is legal for Danes to buy counterfeit goods while travelling abroad and bring them back -- for personal use only -- the court decided that this very narrow exception does not apply to online shopping. The case is precedent-setting and many similar cases are now expected in Denmark. The man in question was not punished further (beyond the confiscation of his purchase). The court also said that, even if the consumer buys an item in good faith (i.e. thinking he is buying the genuine article), if the price is way below the high street price, he should know that it is likely to be a fake and is therefore subject to the same sanctions".
It seems to the IPKat that actual knowledge that the purchased item is fake, and now constructive knowledge of the likelihood that it is fake, inferred from the price of the item, will be sufficient bases upon which to secure a conviction.  Presumably the same inferences can be drawn from other information conveyed by the online vendor, such as statements that the goods on sale are imitation or replica products. But presumably the nature of the vendor's information from which the consumer's inference can be drawn will vary as between different types of goods: sportswear, fashion goods, pharmaceutical and healthcare products.

Merpel notes that there was no further punishment and wonders whether a custodial sentence might be available? If so, she could advise that if you buy a counterfeit watch online, you can expect to serve time ...

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