The Criminal Code provides penalties for the infringement of industrial property rights and copyright. Article 338 of the Criminal Code, for example, specifies a term of imprisonment of one to 12 months for any person who has counterfeited or altered names, trademarks or distinctive signs belonging to intellectual works or to the products of any industry, and for any person who has made use of legally registered names, trademarks or signs that have been so counterfeited or altered, even if the act was carried out by a third person. The same penalty applies to any person who has counterfeited or altered industrial designs or models or has made use of them, even if the act was carried out by a third person.
Article 339 of the Criminal Code imposes a term of imprisonment of one to 12 months on any person who, for the purpose of trade, has imported into Venezuela and put on sale or in any way circulated intellectual works or products of any industry bearing counterfeited or altered names, trademarks or distinctive signs likely to mislead the consumer as to their origin or quality, if the ownership of the works, trademarks or signs has been legally registered in Venezuela.
Article 340 of the Code imposes a term of imprisonment of 15 days to three months on any person who has disclosed information concerning an invention, scientific discovery or industrial secret that should have been kept secret and who has become aware of it because of their position or employment or as a result of their profession, art or industry, as well as a term of imprisonment of 15 days to six months if the disclosure was made to a foreigner not resident in Venezuela or the latter’s agent.
Likewise, the Industrial Property Law imposes a term of imprisonment of one to 12 months on any person who infringes the rights of the legitimate owner or holder of a patent, by manufacturing, making, transmitting or using for industrial purposes and for profit unlawful or fraudulent copies of the subject matter of the patent, without the express or tacit consent of the owner, as well as any person who, in order to prejudice the rights or interests of the legitimate owner, uses, manufactures or makes registered trademarks, models or designs or others likely to be confused with them (Articles 98 and 99).
Any person who designates a business as a branch of another business which has a registered trade name and who maliciously takes advantage of an industrial or commercial reputation earned by the efforts of the other whose property is protected under the Industrial Property Law (Articles 100 and 101 respectively) shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of one to 12 months.
As regards copyright, use of the title of a work, communication in the original or a developed form, in their entirety or in part, of intellectual works, editions of the works of others, or of texts or photographs or products obtained by a process equivalent to photography or images recorded on cinematographic film, being equivalent to photography, or the distribution of intellectual works including copies of phonograms and unauthorized broadcasting or retransmission by broadcasting organizations, without the consent of the owner of the rights concerned, are punishable by a term of imprisonment of six to 18 months (Article 119 of the Law on Copyright).
A term of imprisonment of one to four years is imposed on any person who intentionally reproduces in the original or a developed form, in their entirety or in part, intellectual works, editions of the works of others or texts or photographs or products obtained by a process equivalent to photography or who imports into Venezuela, stocks, distributes, sells, or circulates unlawful reproductions thereof (Article 120 of the Law on Copyright). The same penalty applies to any person who copies, by any means, the performance of an actor or performer, a phonogram or a broadcast in its entirety or in part, or who imports into Venezuela, stocks, distributes, sells or circulates such reproductions or copies (Article 121 of the Law on Copyright).