Industry news

We can ask to decriminalize the top blanket. How would that affect the counterfeit brands? The experts answer us

After the death of Mame Mbaye, the mantero that died Thursday in the Madrid neighborhood of Lavapies and the riots that night, Pablo Iglesias's party wants to push for a law that reconsider the current regulation of street sales and return to administrative fines against penalties of up to two years in jail from the actuality.

With the motto Surviving is not a crimeWe can want to reconsider that the current regulation of street sales is disproportionate, since it entails penalties of up to two years in jail against administrative fines that were imposed some years ago.

As attorney Laura Ruiz explains, “since the reform of the PP, what was previously an administrative fine, which was rarely paid because the manteros declared themselves insolvent, now becomes a crime of jail time. Something that is usually not fulfilled because with a penalty of two years you do not enter the jail, but the problem is that it generates antecedents for the manteros ”.

As this lawyer explains, with this background many of these manteros they will have problems in the future to obtain, for example, citizenship. And if they relapse, then they are in danger of entering prison.

What we propose is that the street sale of products of less than 400 euros value not considered a crime and demands that the criminal records of immigrants be eliminated so that they can obtain Spanish nationality. As the lawyer that we have consulted tells us "it is true: it costs you more criminally to sell a bag on the street than to punch someone".

The trade of counterfeit and pirated products, a scourge to fight

But as Laura Ruiz also explains, this change is about a deterrent measure: "Most street vendors declare themselves insolvent, so an administrative fine does not seem like a serious danger to face."

Street sales are not a serious problem, but Yes it is street sales of counterfeit products.

In fact, counterfeit clothing and accessories cause losses of more than 43,000 million euros in the European Union and Spain are costing more than 50,000 jobs. Some figures that give vertigo.

One of the most complete studies on this issue, published in 2016 by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (Euipo), although referred to 2013, quantifies that trade in counterfeit goods It represents 2.5% of all world trade, what it means 433,000 million euros.

This study, carried out worldwide based on half a million seizures made at customs, also indicates that the regions and countries most affected are those developed and, in particular: the European Union, the United States, Japan and Switzerland. Imports of counterfeit products in the EU represent 5% of the total, which gives an idea of ​​their magnitude.

To talk about how these deterrent measures affect (or eliminate them) To the brands that suffer the effects of counterfeiting of their products or piracy, we have spoken with Immaculate López Visus and José Mariano Cruz García, of the law firm Eversheds Sutherland Nicea, specialized in industrial and intellectual property.

“What we can raise is return to the old system. Right now, street sales of less than 400 euros are punishable by six months to two years in jail. Although, for that amount in reality, these penalties are now almost faults and fines, ”they explain.

“We work for several intellectual property rights management entities and the manteros are not pursued. What is pursued are those distribution networks of those illegal copies. This is where the police come in, what they really do with the manteros is to take note for breaching the street sale regime and breaking down the merchandise, ”says José Mariano Cruz.

As these two professionals tell us, moving to the old system, from their point of view, is give carte blanche to these networks to sell counterfeit and pirated merchandise with all impunity “because given their economic situation they have no solvency to pay the fine. Although the crime against industrial and intellectual property does take a long time in the Criminal Code, the current system can be a deterrent effect as such and the only remedy that large companies have to fight against counterfeiting and copies of their products. ”

Another fact that also emphasizes Inmaculada López and José Mariano Cruz is that buying counterfeit products or downloading pirated products online makes it much easier for the user to get these goods and that has made that, except in very tourist located sites, today in day let's not find as many manteros as years ago. "You can see them at the Puerta del Sol or on a sea promenade, but the entry into the internet business has greatly influenced and in reality the focus for the authorities is not so much there."

The manteros are the tip of the iceberg

"Basically the mantero as such is not being prosecuted criminally," explains José Mariano Cruz, "because those judges understand that they are people who are forced to do that job. What it pursues is the networks behind. Those that produce mass counterfeits. Containers that come from China, Taiwan, etc. and that distribute millions of counterfeit products. That's where the police really go. ”

As this professional also clarifies "the final objective of the authorities is to make big raids to seize those products and be able to destroy them, not capture these tablecloths to put them in jail for two years, because nothing is earned."

The conclusion for these two legal professionals is that decriminalize street sales it will not affect on a daily basis of “those poor people who are on the street going cold, getting hot, in the rain, from the wind. What I could do is favor the mafias they earn and launder the money through these fakes, "says Immaculate Lopez." Especially because right now there are not many lawsuits against manteros as such, if they are within a distribution network, yes. If you are caught in the street , you can requisition the merchandise but you will not be prosecuted for an intellectual property offense ”.

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