Kaohsiung Customs Calls on the Public to Beware of Counterfeit and Pirated Goods When Shopping Online
The Covid-19 pandemic is fueling the growth of the stay-at-home economy as the public now turns to convenient online shopping for fear of contracting coronavirus. However, according to Kaohsiung Customs (KHC), convenience comes at a price—the escalating risk to Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs).
Counterfeit and pirated goods lure worldwide bargain hunters with low prices at the expense of quality, misleading consumers to undervalue the genuine ones and thus depriving the IPR holders of their potential legitimate sales. In order to combat IPR infringement, violations of IPR-relevant laws or regulations are penalized pursuant to the Trademark Act and the Customs Anti-smuggling Act. For instance, under Article 97 of the Trademark Act, those who import fake goods for sale shall be liable to imprisonment for a maximum of one year or a fine of not exceeding NT$50,000, or both. In addition, the fakes shall be confiscated under Article 98. On the other hand, even if the fakes are not intended for sale, according to Article 39-1 of the Customs Anti-smuggling Act, the importers shall be subject to a fine of not exceeding three times the value of the goods, and the fraudulent goods shall be confiscated as well.
There is a fine line between a bargain and a fake. To prevent punishment for IPR infringement, there are several ways to spot fakes, such as seeking reputable sellers, checking the product’s advertised price against its recommended retail price, and inquiring about its origin and trademark to ensure authenticity. KHC suggests consumers remain vigilant while purchasing online since they can not inspect products physically.