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02 June 2008

Application for confirmation of seizure must be served within 10 days

In Minister of Trade and Industry v EL Enterprises, the High Court has set aside an application for confirmation of a seizure conducted on behalf of Unilever PLC on the grounds that the Department of Trade and Industry had failed to serve the application papers on the respondents within the statutory 10-day period after seizing goods without a warrant.

24 April 2008

Crocs bitten back in High Court decision

In Moresport (Pty) Limited v Commissioner for the South African Revenue Service, the High Court of South Africa has set aside a search and seizure warrant issued by a magistrate in respect of 5,015 pairs of alleged counterfeit Crocs beach shoes on the grounds that Crocs Inc had failed to disclose a defence raised by Moresport (Pty) Limited in correspondence with Crocs's attorneys.

27 February 2008

Nokia wins small victory over counterfeiters

The Dubai Criminal Court of Appeal has upheld a decision by the Dubai Court of First Instance in which the latter imposed a fine of Dh10,000 on the defendant for selling counterfeit mobile phone accessories bearing the trademark NOKIA. The Court of Appeal considered that the defendant's denial of charges constituted an attempt to escape punishment.

11 February 2008

Sharjah Customs establishes IP Rights Enforcement Unit

Sharjah Customs is in the process of establishing an IP Rights Enforcement Unit to combat the importation of counterfeit products and assist trademark owners in the protection of their rights. Upon detection of counterfeit goods by inspectors, trademark owners that wish to file a complaint must follow the Procedures to Claim and Control Products.

24 January 2008

Opening shots at 2010 World Cup goal

The Fédération Internationale de Football Association has filed four suits for infringement of various registered trademarks and designs associated with the 2010 Football World Cup. Among other things, FIFA alleged that the transgressors' trading activities amounted to making undue associations with the event and that they were unlawfully deriving promotional benefits from it.

18 January 2008

Longest-ever prison term handed down in drug counterfeiting case

In State of Israel v Benjamin, the Tel Aviv Magistrates Court has issued the longest prison sentence ever imposed in a drug counterfeiting case. In determining the sentence, the court took into account, among other things, the risks to public health, the damage to public interest and the loss suffered by the international companies involved.

11 December 2007

Finding of prima facie infringement is sufficient to seize goods

In Dwaik v Customs Authority, the Jerusalem Magistrates Court has dismissed a claim filed by a Palestinian importer for the release of counterfeit Puma and adidas shoes seized by the Israeli Customs Authority. Among other things, the court held that a finding of prima facie infringement was sufficient for the Customs Authority to seize the goods.

11 December 2007

Honda enforces rights in three-dimensional trademark for engine

Honda Motors Co Ltd has successfully enforced its rights in the three-dimensional trademark for the famous GX engine. Sharjah Municipality seized around 960 engines that imitated the shape of the Honda GX engine, but bore different word marks, on the grounds that they infringed Honda's three-dimensional mark. The trader is to pay a fine.

19 September 2007

Challenges remain as Customs recordal system turns one

One year on since the implementation of a new system for the recordal of registered trademarks by Dubai Customs, it appears that the recordal procedure is running relatively smoothly and the customs authorities have been notifying brand owners of suspect shipments. However, the short timeframes to file complaints and lack of access to information about certain shipments have proved problematic in some instances.

04 October 2006

Court of Cassation considers likelihood of confusion

The Court of Cassation recently remitted a case to the Court of Appeal for further examination after finding that the appeal court had failed to examine both the evidence and the arguments. The court stressed that in considering imitation, the court must look at the similarities rather than the differences between the two marks.

18 October 2005

Counterfeit Goods Bill introduced

Kenya has introduced the Counterfeit Goods Bill 2005 into Parliament. Among other things, the bill seeks to prohibit (i) trade in counterfeit goods that infringe upon protected IP rights, and (ii) release of counterfeit goods into channels of commerce. It will also create offences relating to trade in counterfeit goods and establish a Counterfeit Goods Agency.

19 July 2005

Ignorance of exclusive licence saves importer of counterfeit KIWI polish

In a criminal trademark infringement case, the Magistrates' Court in Kampala has acquitted the defendant, a local businessman. The court found that there was no proof beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant had knowingly infringed the KIWI mark for shoe polish. The decision was strengthened by the fact that the co-complainant had failed to register its exclusive licence to sell KIWI products in Uganda with the registrar.

27 January 2004

South African Revenue Service cracks down on counterfeit goods

The South African Revenue Service has tightened up its procedures and operations relating to the seizure of counterfeit goods entering the country. The new policy means that containers will only be stopped in instances where an intellectual property right owner has applied to SARS requesting that it detain and seize suspected counterfeit goods.