Advice for buyers
Online shops might have better offers than regular stores. However, if the offer is too good to be true, there is a reason to be sceptical!
You run the risk of paying money for goods that are unusable or will be confiscated by customs.
- Make sure that the dealer indicates an imprint. He is legally bound if doing so.
- No indication of a postal address, only an email address should set your alarm bells off.
- Check the country where the company is located (e.g. China)
- Enter the name of the product and the site in search engines. Sometimes the authentic manufacturers of branded goods warn their customers about shops that sell fakes.
"Pirates" intentionally violate trademark, copyright, patent and other intellectual property rights, for example by producing and distributing fake goods. This of course is prohibited, hence custom authorities are entitled to confiscate fake goods at the border.
Instead of the expected (luxury) good you will receive a registered letter from the Austrian customs. In addition, customers will be asked if they agree to a simplified procedure, ie the destruction of the goods.
Destruction of goods
As there is a legal risk for consumers, it is in many cases advisable to agree to the destruction of the goods. Your other option is choosing judicial proceedings, which could get rather expensive.
But also with the destruction of the goods, the holder of right could require the payment of fees emerged in connection with the issue. The excuse that you did not know you were buying fake goods does not relieve you from any payment obligations.
Apart from that, importing fake goods is a financial offense and can be fined with up to € 4,000 -.
The written warning may demand injunction, removal or possibly a license fee. Additionally the lawyer will charge you for his intervention.
As these fees are to be calculated under Austrian law, trademark and copyright infringements can quickly result in high attorney bills. Should German lawyers contact you, it is mostly because of violations of law in Germany. Regarding this, there are some specific provision:
If it is a simple case, with no significant violation of the law, the lawyer must not demand more than € 100 for the initial warning. Should he still do so, try to object to this contradicting § 97a of the German Copyright Act.
Note: There is no cost limit for copyright infringement in Austria, written warnings normally given by Austrian lawyers.