Counterfeiting is also punishable under criminal law. Anyone who infringes copyright, software rights, database rights, a trademark, a patent, a supplementary protection certificate, a plant variety right, or a design with malicious or fraudulent intent is liable to a prison sentence of one to five years and a fine of €500 to €100,000 (when it is a customs offence, this fine may be even higher). These amounts are also increased by surcharges (in principle the legal amount x 8).

In order for these criminal sanctions to apply - in addition to proof of counterfeiting (material element) - evidence of a moral element is also required. A sentence can only be applied if there is malicious or fraudulent intent. For patents, trademarks, plant variety rights, supplementary protection certificates, and designs, it is also necessary for the infringement to take place in the business world.

Last update
23 January 2024