Vizcaya Provincial Courts Will Mot Sentence Street Vendors of Knock-off Products to Prison

4 November 2009

The Vizcaya Provincial Superior Court Magistrates Council has unilaterally agreed to follow the criteria currently being applied by some judges and whereby crimes against intellectual or industrial property will not be punishable by prison terms and to advocate for less drastic measures such as civil and administrative sanctions.

This decision will not directly bind the police or the district attorneys, nor does it imply a reform of the Penal Code since what is popularly known in Spanish as top manta or ‘top blanket’ will continue to be codified as a crime therein. Specifically, section 270 states that anyone who undertakes this type of activity without the authorization of the corresponding intellectual property rights holders can be punished with a prison term of six months to two years and a fine of between 12 and 24 months, based on the monthly amount set by the judge.

In the opinion of the Vizcaya Provincial Superior Court Magistrates Council and other organizations of law practitioners, these sentences are excessive and to that end they are calling for a reform of the Penal Code and the use of civil and administrative sanctions in these cases, which they consider to be sufficient deterrents. However the Provincial Superior Court advises that each case must be examined independently and separately in attention to the peculiarities of each specific case.

For further information please contact Christian Krause: ckrause@mmmm.es