Bosses of a Birmingham phone accessories firm were given suspended prison sentences for selling fake phone covers, using registered trademarks without permission, at Birmingham Crown Court today (17 April 2015).
Mohammed Akhtar, 47, director of Matrix Mobile Accessories Ltd, was sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment while the store’s manager Rizwan Begg, 23, received a six-month sentence, both suspended for two years. Both were also ordered to complete 300 hours unpaid work each.
Birmingham City Council brought this case after receiving a complaint from a concerned shopper about mobile phone accessories bought at Matrix Mobile Accessories Ltd, at 113 Hockley Street, Hockley.
Akhtar, Begg and the company were found guilty of 11 offences each under the Trade Marks Act 1994 at an earlier hearing.
Officers visited the shop on 18 October 2011 to carry out an inspection, during which mobile phone covers bearing various brand trademarks including Apple, Blackberry and Louis Vuitton were found. All items were confirmed as being fake.
Trading standards officers accompanied by West Midlands Police officers visited Matrix Mobile Accessories Ltd again on 18 January 2012, immediately after making a test purchase of a fake Hello Kitty phone cover (£5) and charger (£2).
A total of 68 boxes of branded goods were seized, including around 11,000 phone covers including Angry Birds, Cath Kidston and Disney designs, which officers believed to be fake. All were subsequently found to be fake or using logos without permission.
Sajeela Naseer, Head of Trading Standards for Birmingham City Council, said: “Officers seized thousands of mobile phone covers with counterfeit logos of eight trademarked brands including Apple, Disney and Louis Vuitton.
“These are global brands, built up over decades of hard work, which do not deserve to be damaged as a result of their trademarked logo appearing on inferior or unlicensed products.
“We will continue to pursue counterfeiters as part of our ongoing commitment to protect consumers, businesses and the local economy.”
Matrix Mobile Accessories Ltd was able to continue trading throughout this process but has since been liquidated, and was issued with a nominal £1 fine at today’s sentencing.
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