Criminal Recourse against Counterfeiting

Indian Penal Code, 1860: The Penal Code sets out punishments for cheating, counterfeiting and possession of instruments for making counterfeits etc. under chapter XII of the Act. The code’s provisions can be invoked in criminal actions, in addition to the provisions of specific statutes.

Copyright Act,1957: Provides power to the Police to seize the infringed copies of copyrighted work The Act further empowers the  registrar of copyright to investigate any alleged ship, dock or premise and order to confiscate them. Section 63 of the Act provides for imprisonment up to three years and fine for indulging in activities of infringement.

The Trade Marks Act, 1999: Section 103 provides penalty for applying false trademark and/or trade description, etc. with imprisonment up to three years and fine ranging from fifty thousand to two lakh rupees.

THE Patents Act, 1970: The Patents Act does not provide criminal remedies. However, criminal liability arises where an article is wrongfully represented to be patented or secrecy requirements under the act are breached.

Geographical Indications Act, 1999: Chapter VIII provides for criminal remedies where the term of imprisonment varies from 6 months to 3 years and fine from ₹ 50,000 to ₹ 2 lacs.

Anti-Counterfeiting regulations under the Intellectual Property Rights (Imported Goods) Enforcement Rules,2007
The IPR Rules, 2007 empowers the competent authority of Customs to seize counterfeit or suspend the clearance of such goods at the port. The Rules additionally empowers the Custom Department to destroy goods infringing IPR.

  • The right holder has to send a notice for protection  of its IPR to the concerned authority for suspending the clearance of counterfeit goods;



Cartier International AG & Ors. V. Gaurav Bhatia (Jan, 2016)
In the case, anti-counterfeiting raids were conducted by the Chandigarh Cyber Cell. The investigation confirmed that the Defendant was offering the counterfeit goods on their e-commerce websites. Thus, trademark infringement was established and the court decreed against the defendant awarding punitive damages of INR 1 crore to the Plaintiff, opining that the purchasing public was bound to assume some sort of association or connection between the Defendant and Plaintiff’s product.