Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Wearing Fake Brands Abroad, Who's Responsible, Who's Liable?

Since the Silk Market Appeal Case we know that the landlord is liable in case he is warned that his tenants infringe trademarks and he doesn't do anything about it. But is a travel agency responsible for tourists that wear counterfeit clothes abroad, even if the travel agency knows that the tourists do wear fake brands?

The China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) says that Chinese travel agencies should be responsible when their tourists are punished abroad for wearing counterfeit clothes. 'Should be responsible' is a phrase not so clear. Does the responsibility entails liability too?

"A representative from CNTA says that travel agencies have the responsibility to remind tourists not to wear fake brand clothes before they depart for outbound travel."

You could argue that the travel agencies have a responsibility to inform their travellers about the law and mores of the land, but if the travellers then still transgress that law it's their own responsiblity and you cannot make the travel agency responsible nor liable.

However, since it concerns Chinese travel agencies, chances are these are state companies. Only if these companies are competent to enforce, you could make these state travel agencies liable. Or you could make travel agencies (state owned or not) liable if they didn't warn their travellers, although Chinese citizens should know these things already, since they are not allowed to buy these counterfeit clothes in China in the first place.

What's your take on this matter?

Read the China Corporate Social Responsibility article here.

Update: Debunking The Chinese Tourist in Europe Story here.

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