Counterfeiting also referred to as the act of copying brands, has all the more proliferated with technological advancement. This menace has extensively and deeply penetrated the markets worldwide, leading to availability of copy high end brands random street shops of India. In essence Counterfeiting and piracy involves infringement of IPR (Intellectual Property Rights).
IP rights, despite of being a private right, which are mostly enforceable through civil litigation provide criminal sanctions as well against its infringement. This is due to the growing instances of counterfeit, passing off and piracy leading to economic damages.
Statues such as Trademarks Act, the Copyright Act, and the Geographical Indications Act provide criminal remedies. The punishment varies from 6 months to 3 years of imprisonment and fine ranging from INR 50,000 to 200,000/-.
The statutes acknowledge counterfeit as cognizable crime, wherein the police can take action and carry out search and seizure court warrant.
Khurana & Khurana has commendable experience in providing relief to its Client through Criminal recourse against Counterfeiters as provided in the following statutes.
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.