Fancy dress company fined £65k for counterfeit costumes

Fancy dress company fined £65k for counterfeit costumes

Published by The Wessex FM News Team at 10:36am 10th September 2019.

The owner of Dorset-based online business The Hen Party Shop has been ordered to pay up after a prosecution for the misuse of trade marks.

Seven offences

Michelea Mariner, aged 49, who ran her business from her home in Corfe Mullen, was sentenced on 5th September having pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to seven offences, under the Trade Marks Act 1994, of selling, advertising and possessing costumes bearing illegal copies of registered trade marks. The case was then prosecuted by the council following an investigation into Mariner’s finances.

Mariner was given a three-year conditional discharge, ordered to pay a Proceeds of Crime Act confiscation order for £65,000 and £1,500 towards prosecution costs. 

Nearly 200 ‘suspect' items

Following a complaint to Trading Standards by a licensed supplier of similar goods, officers made test purchases and subsequently obtained a warrant to enter the property where the business was based, where, last year, they seized nearly 200 suspect costumes and business-related documents and computer equipment.

Investigations revealed that most of the products being sold were illegal copies of costumes bearing trademarked images such as Superwoman, Snow White, Supergirl, Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter and Batman, all of which were being used without permission of the trademark owners.

The court also heard that in October 2017 the internet-based selling platform Etsy also closed her online shop with them, after telling her that she was selling trade mark-infringing copies, but she continued selling through a variety of other online outlets. 

Ivan Hancock, Service Manager for Trading Standards at Dorset Council, said:

“The sale of counterfeit goods can have a seriously detrimental effect on legitimate businesses selling genuine goods, as well as damaging the business of trade mark owners. We will continue to take enforcement action in appropriate cases and undertake the financial investigations necessary to recover proceeds of crime."

Any Dorset business requiring guidance on compliance with trade mark law or other trading standards legislation can call the trading standards business advice line on 01305 224702.