'Stronger powers' to fight counterfeit

The Federal government have planned “greater protection from fake brands masquerading as the real thing” but we will have to wait until April next year for the new law to come into force.

According to the Parliamentary Secretary for Industry and Innovation, Mark Dreyfus, The Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Raising the Bar) Act 2012 provides tough new penalties for counterfeiting and stronger powers for seizing phoney imports.

The Act raises the maximum penalty for trademark rip-offs to five years imprisonment. Previously the maximum was two years – far less than the limit for copyright or patent infringement.

Courts now also have the power to impose exemplary damages against counterfeiters who might otherwise treat penalties as the “cost of doing business”.

These measures bring the enforcement of trade mark law in line with other intellectual property rights, such as patents.

Mr Dreyfus says,“The Act also sharpens up the process for seizure of counterfeit imports. Now Customs has the power to give trademark owners the information they need to commence prosecution.”

Australian businesses have more affordable enforcement options – trade marks and design matters can now be taken to the Federal Magistrates’ Court, rather than the more expensive Federal Court.

The reforms were passed into law on April 15 this year and come into force in April 2013.

Read more from: Industry/Business News
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