Under "Fast Action Scheme", Customs officers yesterday (March 8) cracked two piracy cases in Hong Kong International Jewellery Show, involving two local companies.
Four infringing watch gift boxes were seized. Each cost about $350, which was one third of the price of the genuine items.
Two 51-year-old Hong Kong men, including a company director and a marketing staff of two separate companies, were arrested. They are now on bail pending further investigation.
This was the fourth time that the Scheme was implemented by Hong Kong Customs and Hong Kong Brands Protection Alliance (HKBPA) in large-scale exhibitions in Hong Kong.
Acting on complaints from an HKBPA member which was the copyright owner, Customs officers of Intellectual Property Investigation Bureau yesterday raided two booths of two local companies, seizing two watch gift boxes with infringing design.
In follow-up investigations, they seized from the companies' offices in Tsuen Wan another two watch gift boxes.
"Most of the exhibitors are law-abiding. Copyright infringement activities in exhibitions are not serious in Hong Kong. With HKBPA's cooperation, the Department is able to conduct fast investigations," Divisional Commander (Copyright Investigation) of Intellectual Property Investigation Bureau, Mr Koon Hon-chuen, said today (March 9).
In light of the drop of piracy cases in large-scale exhibitions since the launch of the Scheme in July 2006, Mr Koon said that the Scheme was effective in deterring copyright offences.
In addition to the two cases cracked in the jewellery show, Customs has detected a total of 16 cases in three large-scale exhibitions since the launch of the Scheme.
Under the Scheme, HKBPA members will file copyright information of their products to HKBPA's database before exhibitions. When suspected infringement activity is found during an exhibition, Hong Kong Customs can make use of the database to speed up investigation.
The Department has pledged to take enforcement action within 24 hours against intellectual property rights (IPR) infringement activities in large-scale exhibitions.
Any person who contravenes the Copyright Ordinance is liable to prosecution. The maximum penalty is a fine of $50,000 for each infringing copy and imprisonment for four years upon conviction.
Ends/Friday, March 9, 2007