A Welshpool trader who produced counterfeit clothing with Trade Marks on and then sold them over the internet has been prosecuted by Powys County Council.
Sharon Louise Vaughan, trading as perfectly personalised4u, pleaded guilty to eleven charges under the Trade Marks Act 1994 in action taking by the council’s Trading Standards Service. The hearing took place at Llandrindod Wells Magistrates Court on Wednesday 20 November.
Magistrates gave Vaughan a two year conditional discharge (reduced from three years due to the early plea entered by the defendant) and ordered to pay £3,000. All the goods and products seized were also subject to a forfeiture order to be destroyed.
During the hearing, magistrates heard that a complaint from a company representing brands including boy band ‘JLS’ had spotted the eBay site of Vaughan, which offered a vast array of branded goods including the trade marks of companies they represented. The company conducted a test purchase, examined the product sold and found it to be inferior and counterfeit.
An investigation was launched by the council’s Trading Standards Service after the company reported it. The service found the seller was based in Welshpool and dealing in other branded clothing products of which were suspected to be counterfeit.
A warrant was executed in December 2012 by trading standards with support from Dyfed Powys Police. Evidence found demonstrated that Vaughan was using transfers and vinyls and printing equipment to produce products without any permission or rights from the brand companies.
A considerable volume of transfers and some completed products were seized from the premises with trade mark charges including popular groups such as ‘One Direction’, ‘Little Mix’ and ‘Lady Gaga’. Paypal records revealed that Vaughan had set up a lucrative business without controls in place to determine whether what she was doing was legal.
Cllr Barry Thomas, Cabinet Member for Trading Standards, said: “This serves as a warning to traders and individuals who decide to produce and supply counterfeit goods over the internet or through local supply chains that they could face legal action with financial penalties.
“Without our action, this case would have had a damaging effect on the Powys economy and reputation’
Clive Jones, the council’s Principal Trading Standards Officer, said: “Firm action is needed on any issues related to product counterfeiting to promote fair trading within our community and it is serious indeed to produce counterfeits. This defendant received feedback telling them that they were selling inferior goods but continued to sell the items without conducting safeguards which would have told her quite clearly that what she was doing was illegal.
“It is particularly important to us to support companies who suffer at the hands of counterfeiters. We have to stamp out these practises through enforcement and we call upon local residents to inform us of these types of sellers.”