Fish bait faker sentenced in Trade Mark Act case
A Cambridgeshire trader who counterfeited a product that a Powys business had Trade Mark rights for and then sold them over the internet, has been prosecuted by the county council.
Tomos Grigaravicius of Wisbech, Cambridgeshire was prosecuted by Powys County Council's Trading Standards Service after pleading guilty to five charges under the Trade Marks Act 1994 at a hearing at Llandrindod Wells Magistrates Court on Wednesday 6 February.
Yesterday (Tuesday 26 February) he was sentenced by Welshpool Magistrates Court and given a 12 month community order with 150 hours unpaid work, ordered to pay £175 costs and a £60 victim surcharge. All the goods and products seized were also subject of a forfeiture order to be destroyed.
During the hearings, magistrates heard that a complaint from Brecon based fishing supplies company Fishtec who had found out their fishing bait product they had trade mark rights for (TF Gear) was being counterfeited and sold over the internet. The company conducted a test purchase, examined the product sold and found it to be inferior and counterfeit.
A large investigation was launched by the council's Trading Standards Service, after the company reported it, and found the seller to be based in Cambridgeshire and dealing in other products such as sunglasses, all of which were suspected to be counterfeit.
Various test purchases from online auction website accounts run by Grigaravicius were conducted and were confirmed to be counterfeit by the relevant brand holders. A warrant was executed in October 2012 by council's Trading Standards Service, with support from Scambusters Wales, Cambridgeshire Trading Standards Service and Cambridgeshire Police at one address in Cambridgeshire.
Approximately 50 items were seized from the premises with brands including Puma and Armani as well as the Powys company trade marks. The good seized were valued at approximately £3,000.
Cllr Barry Thomas, Cabinet Member for Trading Standards, said: "This serves as a warning to traders and individuals who decide to supply counterfeit goods over the internet or through local supply chains that they could face legal action with financial penalties.
"Without our action, this case would have had a damaging effect on the Powys economy. It is horrific to see the livelihoods of our local companies being threatened by counterfeiters but we will continue to support the intellectual property rights of our local businesses, the wider business community and also the safety of the public in general."
Clive Jones, the council's Principal Trading Standards Officer, said: "Firm action is needed on any issues related to product counterfeiting to promote fair trading within our community. This defendant received feedback telling them that they were selling fake goods but continued to sell the items.
"It is particularly important to us to support local companies who suffer at the hands of counterfeiters, just because they are innovative and selling good products. We will stamp out these practises through education and enforcement and call upon local residents to inform us of these types of sellers."
Rob Williams, Managing Director of Total Fishing Gear, added: "I'm delighted to hear that a person has been found guilty of counterfeiting our products. There are a number of unscrupulous people importing cheap, sub-standard imitations from the Far East that not only undermine our brand but con the consumer out of their hard-earned cash.
"Counterfeit goods such as these are not made to the same standards as our products - these items are inherently flawed, inferior and will inevitably fail to live up to consumer expectations. People need to be aware that unauthorised counterfeit products are not covered by warranty and as such, the seller will offer no after-sales help. Quite often, if something is too good to be true, then it's not.
"I would like to thank Powys County Council's Trading Standards Service, particularly their staff at Brecon, for their hard work and determination in achieving this result. It's good to see that justice has been dealt and this man will no longer being ripping off the general public."
Users of auction sites or any person offered suspected counterfeit goods are urged to report it to the Trading Standards Service or telephone Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
The council's Trading Standards Service can be contacted on Brecon 01874 623420; Llandrindod Wells 01597 826032; Newtown 01686 617524. Alternatively email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.powys.gov.uk/tradingstandards
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