Frequently Asked Questions

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TRADEMARKS AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY 
What is the penalty for purchasing counterfeit products ?  
 

For the purchase of counterfeit products the legal provision of reference is currently art. 1, par. 7, of D.L. 14 March 2005, no. 35, converted into Law no. 80/2005, amended by L. 23 July 2009, no. 99.

In particular, the norm states that "the final buyer who purchases for any reason items that, considering their quality or the conditions of the seller or the price, leads one to believe that the laws on the origin and provenance of products or industrial property have been violated, is punished with a pecuniary penalty from 100 to 7,000 euros".

Similarly, in the field of audio-visual piracy, “whoever illegally uses, duplicates, reproduces, fully or partly, with whatever procedure, works that are protected by intellectual property, is punished with an administrative penalty equal to 154 euros”.

 
Why is special attention being paid to problems such as counterfeiting and piracy ?  
 

These illegal phenomena are not minor crimes and they do not constitute only an economic damage for enterprises, as they have multiple negative effects and cause:

a) damage and/or danger for consumers, in relation to the safety of the same products;

b) social damage due to the fact that, by exploiting weaker people, it generates black labor, evasion of social security contributions, absence of insurance and loss of jobs, as well as a loss of public revenue because the marketing of such products takes place through parallel channels in total evasion of direct and indirect taxation;

c) damage to the market, which is unavoidably disrupted in its ordinary functioning;

d) the laundering of proceeds of the illegal activity through other criminal acts committed by criminal organizations.

 
How do you tell if a product is original or fake ?  
 

First you need to check the price, as an excessive gap between the market price and the one offered may indicate counterfeiting.

Also, you should not underestimate the places where the goods are offered for sale as, especially in the luxury sector, protected brand products are distributed exclusively through authorized commercial networks.

It should also be remembered that some categories of products bear the EC mark, which certifies compliance with the safety standards imposed by the European Union.

Labels should also be observed. All information should be clearly visible, readable and in Italian and should not have any spelling or printing errors.

Finally, one must pay attention to the packaging and wrapping to check if they show any tampering, wear and tear or lack of seals. 

In the event that a purchaser has a reasonable doubt that he has unwittingly bought a fake product, he may report this to the toll free number  “117” of the Guardia di Finanza, or to the other National Police Forces (State Police - 113, Carabinieri - 112 or the Forestry Service - 1515) and the Municipal Police. Consumers can also report cases of counterfeit products to the General Directorate for the Fight Against Counterfeiting – Italian Patent and Trademark Office of the Ministry of Economic Development, by calling number 06.4705.5800 or by sending an e-mail to anticontraffazione@sviluppoeconomico.gov.it.

 
 
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