We often hear cases where one business has hijacked the trademarks belonging to another business, or has pirated products, or even stolen an invention. We've all probably also heard of people on holiday receiving large fines for having bought counterfeit bags or handbags and sunglasses. It's not always easy to work out the legal situation, given that the laws vary so much from country to country.
In Norway, it is illegal to run a business in pirated goods
In Norway, it is illegal for both private individuals and businesses to make use of, or help to make use of, products belonging to others that are protected by intellectual property rights – if this is done for commercial purposes. Those who engage in this type of activity risk imprisonment, fines and liability penalties.
With regard to all types of intellectual property rights, the purchase of goods solely for private use is not illegal in Norway. Thus, it is not illegal for a private individual to buy a counterfeit watch or bag/handbag for private use.
The main difference between what is legal and illegal relates to actions that are clearly done for commercial purposes and those that take place in private – more specifically, for private purposes.
Where the demarcation line goes for when you are acting for commercial purposes, and when not, is not hard and fast. The boundary depends on an overall assessment of various circumstances, and at the end of the day it is the courts that will decide the issue – based on a concrete assessment of each individual case.
On the menu at the right hand side you can read more on the issues that are emphasised in any assessment of possible commercial intent, which actions are legal, what "private purposes" refers to, and the all important question of what is regarded as wise.