Singapore's brand owners fight back


The Intellectual Property Rights Branch (IPRB) of the Criminal Investigations Department has carried out the biggest raid yet in 2002. The crackdown came at a trade fair in Jurong West where counterfeit telecommunication equipment and accessories, CD-ROMs and VCDs worth a street value of S$200,000 were seized.

Some have speculated that the action taken by the IPRB was the result of intensive industry lobbying, including pressure from the Motion Pictures Association, the Recording Industry Association of Singapore and global telecommunications manufacturer Nokia.

Reports indicate that 19 people were arrested, at least nine of whom will be prosecuted for violating the Trademarks Act. (The others are still being investigated.) The Trademarks Act makes it a criminal offence for a person to import into Singapore any article to which a registered trademark has been falsely applied for the purpose of trade, manufacture or sale.
If convicted, each accused will be liable for a maximum fine of S$100,000 and/or imprisonment for up to five years.

This massive raid demonstrates both the efforts of brand owners and the IPRB to stamp out the trade in pirated goods. For more on Singapore's stance on piracy, see Singapore court takes tough line with IZERO pirate.

Ken Chia and Adrian Loke, Baker & McKenzie.Wong & Leow, Singapore

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