19 February 2020TrademarksRory O'Neill

Taiwanese soldier jailed for ‘damaging’ country’s image with counterfeits

A Taiwanese court has imposed a jail sentence on a soldier who sold counterfeit stickers, saying she endangered the country’s reputation on IP, according to local media reports.

The 23-year old volunteer soldier, only referred to publicly as Liu, has been sentenced to 50 days in prison for violation of the country’s Trademark Act, reported the Taipei Times.

Liu reportedly purchased the stickers and pins, which featured Japanese cartoon characters, off of the Chinese e-commerce site Taobao, and resold them on her own online platform Shopee, each at a price NT$40 (US$1.32) and NT$50.

Taiwan’s laws allow for a prison sentence no longer than one year for intentional trademark infringement.

Police found more than 600 infringing items during a search of her home last February, the report added.

According to the Tainan District Court, her infringing activities risked tarnishing Taiwan’s international reputation for IP protection.

The US Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 International IP Index lists Taiwan as having “relatively high rates of online piracy and physical counterfeiting”, as well as “important gaps” in its digital copyright regime.

It received a 0.50 score (out of a possible 1 full point) for the “availability of frameworks that promote action against online sale of counterfeit goods”.

The report also only awarded the country a score of 0.25 for “criminal standards including minimum imprisonment”, and 0.38 for the prevalence of physical counterfeit goods.

Liu paid NT$10,780 to the court to account for her “illicit proceeds”, and her 50-day prison sentence can be commuted to a fine of NT$1,000 per day in prison, the report added.

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