Counterfeiting and its penalties

If you gain possession of a counterfeit, purchased in a neighboring country and face customs control: beware; you are exposed to significant sanctions!

Update : Nov 2017

Crossing a border in possession of counterfeit items in EU territory, whether consciously purchased or not, exposes the holder to sanctions (in accordance with the rules of the country in which the offense is committed).

Despite the opening of European borders, customs work regularly outside of border areasRegular customs checks are also carried out at ports and airports. In the event of a customs check, it is the responsibility of the traveler to legitimate the origin of the objects they are carrying.

Austria

If the consumer orders counterfeit goods via e-commerce, no fine is foreseen by the customs authorities. If a consumer imports counterfeit goods when travelling, the customs authority can impose fines according to Article 7 of the Austrian Anti-Counterfeiting Act if the importation involves smuggling (fines between € 3,625 to € 15,000.-).


Belgium

Article XV 103 of the Code of Economic Rights stipulates that anyone who infringes certain rights of a holder of certain intellectual property rights in the commercial traffic with malevolent or misleading intention will be punished by a sanction of level 6 (being € 500 euro up to € 100,000 euro and/or imprisonment from 1 year up to 5 years).

Bulgaria

Importing counterfeit goods as a consumer is not punishable under national criminal law, nor are there any civil consequences. The counterfeited goods may nevertheless be destroyed by the customs authorities. Although there are no civil or criminal consequences, the customs authorities can act based on the European Regulation 608/2013.

Croatia

The consumer may be fined € 300 up to € 1,500 by the Customs Office or by the right-holder.

Cyprus

Monetary fine may be imposed - 10 % of the price of the goods plus the destruction costs.

Czech Republic

Punishments specified in criminal code, depending on the circumstances in each case.

Denmark

Importing counterfeit goods as a consumer is not punishable under national criminal law, nor are there any civil consequences. The counterfeited goods may nevertheless be destroyed by the customs authorities. Although there are no civil or criminal consequences, the customs authorities can act based on the European Regulation 608/2013.

Estonia

Importing counterfeit goods as a consumer is not punishable under national criminal law, nor are there any civil consequences. The counterfeited goods may nevertheless be destroyed by the customs authorities. Although there are no civil or criminal consequences, the customs authorities can act based on the European Regulation 608/2013.

France

The Customs Code provides for a fine of between one and two times the actual value of each product. If the offenses are committed by an organized group, the fine may be increased up to five times the value of the object of fraud;

A maximum imprisonment of 3 years. If the offenses are committed by an organized group, the maximum term of imprisonment is increased to ten years.
The Criminal Code provides:

  • In the same circumstances (purchase of goods of a counterfeit brand abroad), the consumer risks a similar penalty, i.e. 3 years’ imprisonment and a € 300,000 fine.
  • This offense may, if necessary, result in the holder being taken into custody and being brought before a court.
  • If convicted, this will become part of his criminal record.

 

 

Germany

Importing counterfeit goods as a consumer is not punishable under national criminal law, nor are there any civil consequences. The counterfeited goods may nevertheless be destroyed by the customs authorities. Although there are no civil or criminal consequences, the customs authorities can act based on the European Regulation 608/2013.

Greece

Importing counterfeit goods as a consumer is not punishable under national criminal law, nor are there any civil consequences. The counterfeited goods may nevertheless be destroyed by the customs authorities. Although there are no civil or criminal consequences, the customs authorities can act based on the European Regulation 608/2013.

Ireland

Any person who imports counterfeit goods into the country is committing an offense. The punishment of the offense can vary: On summary conviction, a fine of € 5,000 or a term of imprisonment not exceeding 12 months, or both. On conviction of indictment, a fine of € 126,790 or, in the case of goods with a value exceeding € 250,000, a fine of three times the value of the goods (including duty and tax), or a term of imprisonment up to 5 years, or both.

Italy

To Art.1/7 Lgs. Decree 35/2005. This is a regulatory offense, and the consumer can appeal against the fine. The consumer will be fined in every case, but he/she can have the fine canceled if he/she proves his/her good faith.

Latvia

Individual persons can be administratively fined with a penalty from € 70 up to € 350, and legal entities from € 700 up to € 7,100.

Malta

Criminal action can be registered by the respective legal right holder or by the police under the terms of the Criminal Code Chapter or the IPR enforcement of National law, Chap. 488.

Netherlands

The consumer is punishable under criminal law with a criminal sentence up to 4 years’ imprisonment and a fine up to € 82,000 for the deliberate import counterfeit goods.

Poland

The Intellectual Property Act says that anyone who marks counterfeit goods with a registered trademark, and has no right to use or trade such goods, shall be subject to a fine, imprisonment or imprisonment for up to 2 years, or - in the case of lesser importance – a fine. Any procedure can only be started by the holder of the title decision/ complaint.

Romania

Importing counterfeit goods as a consumer is not punishable under national criminal law, nor are there any civil consequences. The counterfeited goods may nevertheless be destroyed by the customs authorities. Although there are no civil or criminal consequences, the customs authorities can act based on the European Regulation 608/2013.

Slovakia

Importing counterfeit goods as a consumer is not punishable under national criminal law, nor are there any civil consequences. The counterfeited goods may nevertheless be destroyed by the customs authorities. Although there are no civil or criminal consequences, the customs authorities can act based on the European Regulation 608/2013.

Spain

Importing counterfeit goods as a consumer is not punishable under national criminal law, nor are there any civil consequences. The counterfeited goods may nevertheless be destroyed by the customs authorities. Although there are no civil or criminal consequences, the customs authorities can act based on the European Regulation 608/2013.

Sweden

Importing counterfeit goods as a consumer is not punishable under national criminal law, nor are there any civil consequences. The counterfeited goods may nevertheless be destroyed by the customs authorities. Although there are no civil or criminal consequences, the customs authorities can act based on the European Regulation 608/2013.

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