Customs implements Fast Action Scheme in toys fair

21 Oct 2006

Hong Kong Customs and Hong Kong Brands Protection Alliance (HKBPA) yesterday (October 20) implemented for the second time the "Fast Action Scheme" at the "15th Hong Kong International Toys and Gifts Show and 14th Asian Gifts Premium and Household Products Show".

Assistant Commissioner (Intelligence and Investigation) of Customs and Excise, Mr Tam Yiu-keung, today (October 21) said, "During the 'Hong Kong Electronics Fair' from October 13 to 16 during which the Scheme was implemented for the first time, Customs cracked four cases and arrested four persons. Of the four arrestees, three were convicted, each sentenced to two months' imprisonment suspended for 24 months and fined ranging from $2,500 to $5,000."

Customs arrested a person on Oct 20 in the Toys and Gifts Show.

Since the launch of the Scheme on July 10, 2006, HKBPA members have started to file IPR 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 enhance investigation efficiency.

The Department has pledged to take speedy enforcement action within 24 hours against intellectual property rights (IPR) infringement activities in large-scale exhibitions.

After the Toys and Gifts Show, Hong Kong Customs will review the operational arrangements with HKBPA for further enhancement of the Scheme.

Currently, the following measures are in place to attain express investigation.

  1. Specialised online system - An online system has been set up between Hong Kong Customs and HKBPA for prompt exchange of product and copyright or trademark information of members;
  2. Specialised working group - A Customs working group has been set up to handle reports of infringement activity during the exhibition; and
  3. Specialised frontline teams - The teams are ready to support the specialised working group to investigate any complaint of infringement activity.

Mr Tam said, "Speedy Customs investigation is critical to suppressing infringement activities since most exhibitions only last for a few days"

"While most of the exhibitors are law-abiding and infringement activity in exhibitions is not serious in Hong Kong, we are hopeful that the Scheme will serve as an effective preventative measure to strengthen IPR protection," he added.

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/Saturday, October 21, 2006

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