2024-06-27 Taking Care of Children with Developmental Delays to Earn a Living! Mother Rents Out Account to Sell Counterfeit Ink; Canon Angrily Sues for Infringement; Too Bad

【Xu You-sheng】

A woman in Keelung, Ms. Li, who runs an online shop, decided to sell products to earn extra money to support her family while taking care of her child with developmental delays. She mistakenly trusted a dubious individual from mainland China named “Zhang Rui”, who claimed he could provide printer ink products from well-known brands Canon and Epson. Ms. Li used her husband’s Shopee account to sell the ink, agreeing to give Zhang a 2% commission on sales and transfer the money to him via Alipay. Later, the Japanese company Canon discovered this and filed a criminal complaint. Ms. Li confessed to all the charges. Considering her family situation and the quantity of counterfeit products sold, the court sentenced her to 30 days of detention, which could be commuted to a fine, with a probation period of 2 years.

The indictment by the Keelung District Prosecutors Office pointed out that Ms. Li should have known from common social experience that lending out an online store account and collecting payments on behalf of others could potentially facilitate illegal activities such as fraud and the sale of counterfeit goods. However, for a commission of 2% of the total transaction amount, she agreed to a deal with “Zhang Rui,” whose real name and background were unknown, over the internet. Ms. Li provided Zhang with her unsuspecting husband Mr. Cai’s Shopee account under the name “specialforU.” The store was later renamed to “humor.ink,” and used by Zhang to sell counterfeit ink bottles with trademark infringements.

The Keelung district prosecutors further stated that after selling the products, Ms. Li received payments into her accounts at Federal Bank, Hua Nan Bank, and Taiwan Bank. After deducting a 2% commission as agreed, she transferred the remaining funds to a designated Alipay account in mainland China belonging to “Zhang Rui”.

On September 1st, 2022, Li Wen-jie, the representative lawyer of Canon Inc., placed an order on Ms. Li’s store. Li Wen-jie purchased a set of GI-790 ink bottles using the Canon trademark for NTD 658. Upon receiving the goods, it was discovered that they were counterfeit products bearing a copied trademark, Li Wen-jie immediately reported the matter to the police.

Subsequently, on February 3rd and 22nd, 2023, the police placed additional orders on Ms. Li’s store. The police purchased one bottle of EPSON-branded ink refill for NTD 200 and four bottles for NTD 450. The police then requested the Taiwan agent of EPSON to authenticate the products, and it was confirmed that all items were counterfeit goods bearing copied trademarks. Based on Article 30, Paragraph 1 of the Criminal Code and Article 97 of the Trademark Act, charges were filed against Ms. Li for aiding in the sale of counterfeit goods.

The court’s judgment stated that after being prosecuted, Ms. Li expressed considerable regret. She explained that she has a child with delayed language development at home, which stops her working outside. She also asserted that her household does not own a printer and she is not familiar with printer ink. She claimed that Zhang Rui, who provided the goods, assured her that the ink was genuine with warranty, and she trusted this based on positive reviews from other Shopee buyers. Consequently, she had her husband set up a company and lend out his Shopee store for selling the products, taking a commission on sales.

Ms. Li emphasized, “I deeply regret it. I admit I made a mistake, and this incident has impacted my life for a whole year.” She expressed sincere willingness to reconcile and has provided information to the plaintiff’s company in hopes of tracking down the main suspect in mainland China.

The court ultimately recognized that Ms. Li had shown good behavior after committing the offense, her family situation was indeed as she described, and she had no prior criminal record. In accordance with the provisions of aiding and abetting under the Criminal Code, her sentence was mitigated. She was sentenced to 30 days of detention, with the option to pay a fine, and granted a probation period of 2-years.

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