KUALA LUMPUR: A garment wholesaler has been fined RM300,000 for having 150 T-shirts with the cartoon characters “Upin & Ipin” without permission from its copyright owner.
Wholesaler Fook Tai Sdn Bhd, who was represented by its director Yap Kien Sing, 49, was slapped with the summons case in a Sessions Court (Intellectual Property) yesterday.
The wholesaler pleaded guilty to owning the round neck T-shirts when its copyright belonged to Les’ Copaque Production Sdn Bhd at its premise in Lorong Haji Taib 4, Jalan Raja Laut, at about 5.30pm on May 22, 2009.
According to the facts of the case, an enforcement team from the Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Ministry had raided the premises on that day with a search warrant. However, Yap failed to open the grille and left the place.
It was only when the team sought help from the police that Yap unlocked the grille and allowed them to enter the premises.
This is the first case of copyright infringement involving T-shirts and the printing of such cartoons.
Pleading for leniency, his lawyer Harjinder Singh Sandhu said the prosecution had in a letter dated July 26, stated it had no objection for a lower fine if Yap admitted guilt on behalf of the company.
DPP Nurul Ain Hamzah asked the court to impose a fine to reflect the nature of the offence, public interest and protection of intellectual property.
Sessions Court judge Hasbi Hasan said the court had taken into consideration that it was the company’s first offence.
“The court hopes that it will not take advantage (of others’ copyright) as intellectual property involved public interest and the country’s interest. It should be more careful for the sake of the country’s interest,” the judge said, ordering the director to pay the fine or risk eight months in jail.
“For each of the infringement copy, it (the wholesaler) is fined RM2,000,” she said.
Harjinder said Yap later paid the fine.
Did you find this article insightful?