Sweden 20 Feb 2018

Proposal: Harder penalties for IP infringements in Sweden

On February 15, 2018, the Swedish government’s investigator, Dag Mattsson, presented a proposal for increased penalties for serious copyright and trademark violations. The proposal suggests introducing two new criminal denominations: gross copyright violation and gross trademark violation, with a sentence of imprisonment for up to six years. The legislative amendments are proposed to enter into force on 1 July 2019.

 – Today there is an organized online piracy that has major consequences for the whole community. Therefore, it is good that the penalty scale for these crimes have been reviewed as the penalty needs to be proportionate to the seriousness of the crime, said Swedish Deputy Minister of Justice, Heléne Fritzon, in a press release.

The background to the proposal is that organized crime is currently taking place in the form of significant piracy, which can create serious commercial consequences for companies as well as serious health and safety risks to consumers. In order to prevent the most serious form of these crimes, more severe punishment is required. Sweden also has relatively low penalties for these types of crime in an international comparison.

The proposal means that the person who is guilty of copyright and trademark violation of normal grade may be sentenced to fines or imprisonment for up to two years. However, if the crime is to be judged grossly, the guilty person will be sentenced to jail for two to six years.

The investigator also suggests that all property can be seized, not only material properties but also intellectual property such as domain names that have been used as a tool for copyright or trademark violation. This would complicate the continued crime during the investigation period.

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