x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Deportation for serial counterfeit salesman

Indian becomes first person to be deported for breaking intellectual property laws after being arrested three times in a month.

DUBAI // An Indian salesman arrested three times in a month for selling counterfeit goods has become the first person to receive a deportation order issued by a Dubai court for infringements of intellectual property laws.

SD, 23, was charged by prosecutors last summer with possession with intent to sell almost 80 handbags, about 260 wallets, seven belts and 15 purses with Louis Vuitton logos. Copyright law allows for fines of as much as Dh1million, jail terms and deportation orders for offenders.

"Fake goods vendors are usually fined as per the copyright law," said a judicial source who asked not to be identified. "However, in this defendant's case he was jailed and deported because he was a repeat offender, making this the first such judgment."

S D later compounded his crime by selling fake handbags, wallets, belts, suitcases and watches carrying the Mont Blanc logo in addition to bogus Chloe and Cartier bags. He was also arrested for selling hundreds of counterfeit PlayStation computer games, which resulted in his deportation order.

The Dubai Court of Misdemeanours convicted S D on October 24 and fined him Dh10,000 for possession with intent to sell the fake Luis Vuitton products. It sentenced S D and his compatriot MA, 32, to two months in jail and ordered their deportation last week after finding them guilty of infringing on the intellectual property rights of the PlayStation games' producers and copyright holders. SD is awaiting judgment on his Mont Blanc case.

The major difference between GCC countries when it comes to counterfeit goods cases is the implementation of the law and the enforcement of the penalties by the courts, according to the Arabian Anti-piracy Association (AAA).

In most cases pirated goods are smuggled into regional countries using unconventional methods and distributed to sellers who are hard to pin down.

"In some instances smugglers have developed their techniques by repackaging the whole set of counterfeit products to misguiding inspectors as to the content of the cargo," said Ola Khudair, a AAA spokeswoman. "Once inside the country, it has become difficult to identify the core supplier of the pirate products and take action against them."

There are no main distribution or warehouse facilities where the pirated goods are stored, she said, because groups of vendors obtain their pirated goods from multiple locations. About 90 per cent of pirated and counterfeit products originate from organised crime networks according to the AAA.

"These networks utilise their extensive connections to move pirated products between various countries as well as continents," said Ms Khudair. "Any popular brand with a marketing value has been pirated or counterfeited.

"In fact, these networks profit a lot from piracy because of the cheaper manufacturing costs, less risk of loss and lesser penalties if lost on transit.

" Additionally, they do not have to go into extensive methods for hiding these products like they do for drugs and weapons."