On 1 March 2019 the Court of Appeal of Valencia, acting as Trial Court, issued a judgement sentencing two defendants for importing several thousands of pairs counterfeit shoes for commercial purposes, and sentencing them to a one and a half year prison sentence, a fine, the payment of the procedural costs of the private prosecutor, and the payment of the damages and destruction costs.
These events date back to 2016, following a warning from the Italian Police to the Spanish Police about the arrival of some illicit trade products, which led them to set up surveillance measures at the defendants' premises in order to seize the shipment. A total amount of 2,764 pairs of shoes infringing different Adidas brands and designs were seized.
It just so happened that the products were not delivered directly to the defendants but to the entrance of their establishment, so there was no effective reception of these products.
The strategy adopted by the defence during the Trial Hearing consisted of denying that the defendants were the recipients of the seized goods and that there had been a mistake in the shipment. The Court, in view of the evidence submitted during the Trial Hearing, considered it proven that the seized products were intended to be delivered to the defendants, given the delivery notes and the fact that the establishment run by the defendants where the goods were supposed to be delivered, was dedicated to the sale of shoes.
The Court considers that the crime has been fully committed and that although there was no immediate or possession of the goods by the defendants, there was indirect possession, as the goods were made available to them.
The Court also sentences the accused to pay for the damages caused to the owner of the infringed marks and designs, quantifying them at 60,485€, taking into consideration the damage report issued by the court-appointed expert. The Court also sentences the defendants to pay the destruction costs of the seized products, initially assumed by the owner of the brands and designs infringed, which amounts to 1,296.12€.
This is one of the first judgments issued by a Court of Appeal, acting as a Trial Court, with regard to Intellectual Property crimes. This is due to the increase in prison sentences in crimes against Intellectual Property which brought about the last reform of the Spanish Criminal Code in 2015, so that crimes such as these, in their aggravated form, are sent directly to the Courts of Appeal for trial, instead of the regular Trial Courts.
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