Thursday, April 27, 2006

Criminal Law: Counterfeit Golf Club Distributor Sentenced: 3.5 Years

US Golf Manufacturers Anti-Counterfeiting Working Group (comprised of Acushnet Company, Callaway Golf, Cleveland Golf, Nike, PING and TaylorMade Golf Company) has won another case against two counterfeit golf club sellers. Loo Shih Yann, a principal with the international law firm of Baker and McKenzie coordinated efforts on behalf of the working group. Read more about the first criminal conviction of counterfeit golf club sellers here.
  • Now the Shanghai Zhabei District Court sentenced golf club distributor Chen Hui to imprisonment for 3.5 years and a fine of approximately $3,700 USD (RMB30,000).
  • The golf club retailer, Ms. Bai Hong, was sentenced to imprisonment for 6 months jail, one year of probation and a fine of approximately $2,500 (RMB20,000) after Bai provided assistance to law enforcement that helped lead to the arrest and conviction of Chen Hui.
"Some sales records were also found at Chen's apartment. Chen was immediately arrested and put into a detention house. Shanghai Zhabei District Court tried the case in early March 2006 and ruled that the defendant's sales records alone were sufficient to prove prior sales of counterfeit golf products. This documentary evidence provided a legal basis for establishing the crime of selling goods with a counterfeit registered trademark. In many cases a court would require testimony from witnesses to prove prior sales, however in this case the court found that Chen had sold counterfeit golf clubs valued at more than $75,000 USD (RMB600,000)..."

According to section 7 (articles 213-220) of the Criminal Law of the PRC (March 14, 1997, which came into effect on October 1, 1997) that addresses infringement of intellectual property the court ruled that the threshold of 'larger sales volume' were reached.

See article 214:
Knowingly selling merchandise under a faked trademark with a relatively large sales volume shall be punished with imprisonment or criminal detention of less than three years, or a seperately imposed fine; in cases involving a larger sales volume , with imprisonment of more than three years but less than seven years, and with a fine.

Read the comprehensive Yahoo Finance article here.

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