Trademark criminal law | Criminal proceedings for trademark infringement

Lawyer for criminal trademark law

We stand by your side when the police and public prosecutor's office take action against you for brand counterfeiting

Even though trademark law is a special area of civil law, intentional trademark infringements, in particular plagiarism and trademark piracy, are punishable by law. If you are accused of such a trademark offense, we are at your disposal together with the experienced Criminal defense lawyer Patrick Baumfalk to the side. 

What is a punishable trademark infringement?

The punishable trademark infringements are defined in §§ 143, 143a, 144 MarkenG is regulated. The following are punishable intentional injuries German trademark law, including the infringement of business designations, European trademark law and geographical indications of source.

Man in handcuffs for trademark offense Trademark criminal law
What many people don't know: Trademark infringements not only result in warnings, but in the worst case also in prison

What is the penalty for trademark infringement?

The intentional Infringement of German trademarks and European trademarks is a criminal offense and will be punished with Imprisonment for up to three years or punished with a fine. If the infringement of German trademarks or business designations is committed on a commercial or gang basis, the following penalties apply up to five years in prison.

The infringement of geographical indications of source is punishable by imprisonment of up to two years or a fine.

When is a criminal investigation into trademark piracy initiated?

Trademark offenses are so-called Relative application offenses. This means that they are usually prosecuted at the request of the infringed property right holder. However, the prosecution authorities - the public prosecutor's office and the police - can also take action themselves if there is a particular public interest.

The public prosecutor's office investigates when a Initial suspicion is present. This is according to § Section 152 (2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure  is the case if there are "sufficient factual indications". It is therefore sufficient for the infringed party to demonstrate in a comprehensible manner that the trademark infringement is intentional.

Why have I received a complaint about product piracy and brand counterfeiting?

There are many reasons for the owner of an IP right to file a complaint and a criminal complaint for trademark infringement. A few examples:

Trademark criminal proceedings serve to intimidate

Particularly in the area of product piracy, brand owners often assume that mafia structures are behind the counterfeit products. These can be identified by Warning letters and trademark actionn are not impressed. When restricting freedom, however, offenders think more carefully about their actions.

Investigation results help in legal proceedings

The trademark owner often lacks information about the perpetrator or the scope of the crime. The results of the public prosecutor's investigation are then used as evidence in the civil proceedings, in which they might otherwise remain irrelevant. Incidentally, this even applies if the investigation is closed and no charges are brought.

Recovery of proceeds of crime helps with the realization of damages

Especially in the case of "professional" trademark infringers, experience shows that at the end of expensive trademark infringement proceedings, there is no money to be had. The owner of the property right is then not only left with five-figure legal costs, but also receives no compensation. 

However, the prosecution authorities are obliged to confiscate what perpetrators, participants or third parties have obtained through or for a punishable trademark infringement, § Section 73 (1) StGB.

If the injured party then obtains a title in the legal proceedings, he can demand that the prosecution authorities pay out the proceeds of the crime to him.

Our help in criminal trademark proceedings

If you are the owner of trademark rights, we will examine any infringement in addition to your eligibility for a Warning also to determine whether criminal proceedings are advisable and helpful.

If your case is suitable for criminal proceedings, we will obtain and document the necessary evidence, file charges, file a criminal complaint and handle communication with the public prosecutor's office. 

We then inspect the files and check whether the investigations have already produced the necessary evidence for your civil proceedings. 

If you yourself have been targeted by the police and the public prosecutor's office, we will defend you with all the means provided by the Code of Criminal Procedure. 

For a non-binding initial consultation, please use our Contact form or write to

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