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15 September 2014
Health, safety and environmental regulations are not a major consideration for most producers of counterfeit toys, vehicle parts, clothing, electronics and medicines. Despite this, Norwegian consumers seem happy to buy fake goods instead of genuine products.
Consumers' desire to buy fake products at a low price instead of the genuine article is fuelling a major industry for the production and sale of counterfeit goods. During 2013 Norwegian Customs seized more than 53,000 counterfeit products, with an estimated sales value of more than €2.2 million. EU Customs detained approximately 36 million articles the same year, with a domestic retail value of more than €760 million. Only 2.9 % of the products were released because they were actually genuine products.
During Summer 2013 a new provision was added to the Civil Procedure Act which allows rights holders access to information in cases where they suspect infringement of their rights. It provides that a rights holder may, upon receiving notification of the detention of counterfeit goods, request that the court order the importer to provide information regarding the origin and distribution network of the imported goods. This includes:
At the same time, legislative steps were taken to standardise the calculation of damages for infringement. Importers now face higher levels of compensation and damages than were traditionally awarded to rights holders in such cases.
Finally, the Customs Act has been amended. Previously, Customs was authorised to detain only goods that it suspected of infringing registered trademarks, designs or patents. This power has been extended to include unregistered rights, including the detention of products that may violate third parties' rights under the Marketing Control Act. For instance, Customs may detain products that look like a well-known product but that do not bear the corresponding trademark.
Counterfeiting is increasing, but the latest legislative amendments are important steps towards strengthening the enforcement of IP and related rights. However, consumer awareness – both of the fact that imitation and innovation do not go well together and of the health, safety and environmental risks that counterfeit goods pose – is just as important.
For further information on this topic please contact Celine Varmann Jørgensen at Bryn Aarflot AS by telephone (+47 92 83 16 19), fax (+47 22 00 31 31) or email (email@example.com). The Bryn Aarflot AS website is available at www.baa.no.
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Celine Varmann Jørgensen