Eric Clapton recently sued a 55 year old German woman for copyright infringement after she posted a listing online for an unofficial CD of a Clapton gig.
The woman said her husband bought the counterfeit CD at a department store in the 80s and neither of them had any knowledge that the CD was a fake or that selling it would amount to copyright infringement.
Despite only listing the CD for €9.95, Clapton’s lawyers were hot on her heels and applied for an injunction which was later awarded by the Court. The woman tried to appeal the injunction but the judge said that the fact her husband bought the CD and they had no knowledge that it was fake was irrelevant.
In the end, she was ordered to pay nearly €4,000 in legal fees (both hers and Clapton’s) and told that should she attempt to sell infringing CDs in the future, she’ll could face fines of up to €250,000, or six months in prison.
Clapton’s team claim that sales of bootleg CDs are rife in Germany, but the truth is that counterfeit products can be found on markets all over the world and can be difficult to stop.
Under UK and EU law, selling, advertising, stocking or offering goods that carry a sign identical or similar to a registered trade mark amounts to infringement. Counterfeit goods usually include these illegal signs, either affixed to the packing or used in the marketing materials, in association with a copied product.
Not only does the sale of counterfeit goods lead to trade mark infringement, but other intellectual property rights such as copyright and design right may also be infringed and dealing with counterfeit goods can even lead to criminal charges.
For the business that are ripped off, sales are likely to damage their reputation and put a dent in profits, especially when significant money is invested into product development and copycat brands sell products for a quarter of the price and quality.
If you have a brand or business, its therefore really important to follow Clapton’s lead and take action against copycat products.
Written by Katie Moruzzi – Solicitor
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