Authorities in North and South Germany are dealing with several criminal vendors; customs officials in North Rhine-Westphalia seize counterfeits worth tens of thousands of euros; and a Spanish court confirms an unusual infringement of a well-known German trademark.

Police stops criminal vendor in Northern Germany
Officials from the Bremen and Oldenburg police forces searched several houses and apartments in Bremen and the surrounding area of Lower Saxony in early October. The officers investigated two suspects, who had allegedly been trading counterfeit and stolen goods online since December 2019. In total, they seized around 4,000 watches, automotive parts, evidence, and valuable assets such as cars and motorcycles. The suspects are also believed to be involved in other acts of fraud, including subsidy fraud in the so-called Corona emergency aid program. The investigations are ongoing.

Vendor of counterfeits sentenced in Bavaria
For selling counterfeit products, an online retailer from Amberg, Eastern Bavaria, has been sentenced by the Regensburg Regional Court to a suspended prison sentence of 15 months and a fine of 3,000 euros. The offender presumably procured counterfeit cell phone accessories in Asia, including articles that were not authorized for sale in the European Union. In total, the accused had stored more than 35,000 illegal articles, including counterfeits with an estimated original market value of more than 1.2 million euros, according to the prosecution. Back in August 2015, customs officers at Cologne-Bonn Airport had discovered a shipment from China addressed to the defendant with around 3,500 counterfeit headphones. At about the same time, customs at Leipzig Airport had stopped around 2,000 charging cables, about 800 headphones, circa 650 power supply units, and more than 500 cell phone cases. A few weeks later, officials in Leipzig seized an additional 300 adapters. The now-sentenced man had only sold a small portion of the goods before he was stopped, according to media reports.

Customs in North Rhine-Westphalia seize fakes worth tens of thousands of euros
Thousands of items with an original market value of more than 50,000 euros were confiscated in two freight shipments from Turkey by officials by the Neuss customs office in North Rhine-Westphalia. The confiscated goods included fake shoes, belts, T-shirts, and watches of well-known brands. In addition to counterfeits, the officials also seized products that carried false geographical indications; such as dozens of shoes originating from Turkey but carrying the indication “Made in Italy”. Moreover, the customs officers found about 50,000 surgical gowns that violated medical regulations. The shipment had already been detected by the officials in July during import clearances.

Court in Spain confirms infringement of Bosch trademark
A Spanish court of appeal recently confirmed the verdict against the owner of a vehicle workshop who had violated the IP rights of the German company Bosch and had received a prison sentence of six months, among others. The defendant had three green-colored machines in his workshop, in a color similar to the corporate color of the Bosch brand. He presumably applied stickers to these machines that imitated the Bosch logo. These machines, thus presented as alleged originals, were visible to customers of the workshop; hence the workshop owner could have misled customers about the services offered.

Sources: Polizei Bremen; heise.de, onetz.de; Hauptzollamt Krefeld; Grau & Angulo S.L.P.