Mobile Phone Fascias
This advice is designed to provide basic guidance to traders. It is not a complete or authoritative statement of the law. A large print version is available.
Examples may include most Premier League football clubs; Formula 1 teams; sportswear manufacturers such as Nike, Adidas, Umbro, Puma; motor manufacturers such as Ferrari; The Simpsons and South Park together with the more traditional Disney and Warner Brothers cartoon characters. The range is large and ever increasing.
It is important to note that the popularity of such names and characters will invariably mean that they have been registered as trade marks. This may not be just the name, logo or device, but the depiction of the character itself or a commonly used expression or saying associated with the character. The effect on you is that such products can only be sold with the authorisation of the trade mark proprietor (eg Manchester United Football club, Nike, Adidas,Umbro, Walt Disney, Warner Brothers etc).
Such authorised products can normally be recognised by the labelling and packaging which will be of high quality. Likewise, unauthorised products are not usually difficult to spot. In many cases the material or construction is of poor quality with no indication from the packaging that it is the genuine item.
It is your responsibility to ensure that the goods you sell comply with all legislative requirements. The Trade Marks Act 1994 makes it an offence to sell or offer to supply any goods bearing a mark or logo identical to or likely to be mistaken for a registered trade mark, unless the owner of the trade mark has given permission for it to be used on the goods in question.
Disclaimer notices such as 'Reproduction/Fake/Brand Copy' do not offer any protection and goods offered for sale in contravention of this legislation are likely to be seized by Trading Standards Officers. You may also be prosecuted and the courts are likely to order the forfeiture of the goods which were seized.
Trading Standards have a legal duty to enforce this law and often work with the police when they do. The Police can arrest people for Trade Marks Act offences and the Courts can impose heavy penalties. These can be unlimited fines and prison sentences of up to ten years.
Whilst this leaflet is primarily aimed at the sale and distribution of mobile phone accessories it is also relevant to any product bearing a registered trade mark such as sportswear, perfumes, motor accessories, computer software. Again the range is both large and ever increasing.
If you are considering dealing in products which may be covered by the Trade Marks Act 1994 examine them carefully before you buy from your supplier. Always ask for evidence of authenticity and get a detailed receipt. If you have any doubts at all, the best advice is not to buy. If necessary seek legal advice or contact your local Trading Standards office for assistance.
Reviewed November 2010
B/bus/126/001 August 2002