Trade Marks Act 1994/Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988/Consumer Rights 2015/Intellectual Property Act 2014 

All businesses in Newcastle need to be fully aware that to mislead consumers through the use of false trade marks or to infringe copyright generally is a very serious criminal offence. Before selling recorded or branded items such as CD's, DVDs, computer games or clothing, all businesses need to satisfy themselves that such items are not counterfeit, because heavy penalties can be imposed on anyone who breaches copyright and trademark laws.

By misleading the consumer in this manner, it is also a breach of contract  by virtue of the Consumer Rights Act 2015

Selling films on video or DVD is very risky, because the sale of films that have not been properly classified by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) can attract fines of up £20,000 per tape or a prison sentence. Businesses are strongly advised to take more detailed advice on the Video Recordings Act 1984 and 2010 before putting video films out for sale. Even if it was not the retailer who was responsible for copying from the original, the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 provides for secondary infringement so long as the retailer is benefiting from the exercise commercially. Go to our video recordings webpage.

If you wish to report a business or person that you suspect may be carrying out an illegal activity, please use our online form:

Report counterfeit goods online

Illegal Goods

Examples of such goods include alcohol and tobacco. Illegal tobacco products are cigarettes, hand rolling tobacco or niche tobacco products that have been smuggled, bootlegged or are counterfeit (fake).

Smuggled: Foreign brands illegally brought into the UK;

Bootlegged (Duty Frees/Tax-Evaded): Quantities of foreign alcohol and tobacco products brought into the UK from a country with lower taxation and resold;

Counterfeit (Fake): Cheap/low quality foreign alcohol and cigarettes packed to look like premium UK brands. 

Although most illegal alcohol and tobacco comes in from Eastern Europe and the Far East, the majority of end-user sales takes place within local communities. The most common sources for buyers include car boot sales. 

For further information on all the issues around tobacco products go to our webpage on Tobacco and also the North of England Tackling Illicit Tobacco for Better Health website

Android Boxes

To highlight the recent legal issue highlighted with Android boxes and a business operating in Hartlepool go the Chronicle of the 7 March 2017 and the Chronicle of the 12 March 2017. Businesses  within these types of sectors, now need to carefully reflect on the full legal implications of how they are indeed operating.      

Intellectual Property Act 2014

The Intellectual Property Act 2014 received Royal Assent on the 14 May 2014. The Act includes measures that aim to clarify and modernise the intellectual property framework and simplify and improve design protection.

The changes to design law will come into effect on the 1 October 2014 and which are expected to come into force during 2015. To see more detailed business guidance go to Guidance (pdf 441 kb) 

Press Articles

For the implications of dealing in counterfeit and illegal products generally, there have been a number of articles in the "Evening Chronicle", which provide illustrations on the enforcement work carried out by the Trading Standards Service and other key partners including Northumbria Police and HMRC.

In respect of the work of various Trading Standards services nationally, including the service provided by Newcastle City Council, around counterfeiting, an article was published in the Sunday Mirror on the 15 December 2012.

Following the inspection of a premises in the east end of the city and the seizure of significant quantities of suspected counterfeit goods an article was published in the Evening Chronicle on the 6 December 2013   

Following the criminal investigation, prosecution and conviction of a retailer in the east end of the city an article was published in the Chronicle on the 7 May 2014 

Following the seizure of a suspected quantity of counterfeit goods from a city centre trader, an article was published in the Chronicle and also featured on Tyne Tees on the 8 September 2015.  

To see two press articles covering an issue highlighted with the seizure of products imported through Felixstowe go to the Chronicle and the BBC of the 3 October 2015 

To see the full implications of where retailers specifically within Licensed premises are prepared to become involved with illegal products such as non duty paid tobacco and alcohol go the Chronicle of the 27 April 2016 and the Chronicle of the 2 June 2016.

To see a press article highlighting the conviction of a city centre retailer caught with counterfeit goods go to the Chronicle of the 24 July 2016.  

To see a press article highlighting the seizure of a quantity of counterfeit clothing from a residential address in the city go to the Chronicle of the 4 August 2016  

To see a press article highlighting the seizure of a quantity of counterfeit watches from a residential address in the city go to the Chronicle of the 10 August 2016 and the Sun of the 11 August 2016.

To see a press article highlighting the seizure of a quantity of suspected counterfeit and dangerous products go to the Chronicle of the 11 August 2016.  

To see two press articles highlighting the conviction of a business man found dealing with counterfeit goods go to the Chronicle of the 27 October 2016, the Chronicle of the 23 November 2016 and the Chronicle of the 17 January 2017.   

Copies of the legislation mentioned on this page can be purchased from Her Majesty's Stationery Office or can be accessed at OPSI

Please note: This information has no legal force and is not an authoritative interpretation of the law, which is a matter for the Courts. It is intended to help businesses to understand in general terms, the main features of the legislation. The information is not a substitute for the legislation and you should refer to the text of the legislation for a full statement of legal requirements and obligations. Where appropriate, you should seek your own independent legal advice.

For further information, please contact the Trading Standards Service, Public Safety and Regulation, City of Newcastle upon Tyne, Civic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8QH. 
Phone: 0191 2116121
Email: tradingstandards@newcastle.gov.uk

Page last updated: 
13 March 2017
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