Observancia de los derechos de propiedad intelectual
19. Please explain whether the Swedish criminal procedures are consistent with Article 61 of the TRIPS Agreement which requires provisions for a sufficient deterrent, consistently with the level of penalties applied for crimes of a corresponding gravity.
In a bill (Bill 1993/94:122, pages 55-56) containing proposals for strengthening the measures against intellectual property infringements the Government stated, inter alia, that "acts that involve infringements of intellectual property rights are to be taken seriously and possibilities must exist to impose severe imprisonment penalties in serious cases". The Government then proposed – and the Parliament accepted – that the maximum penalty be increased from six months to two years for industrial property infringements (formerly, this imprisonment scale had existed only as far as copyright infringements were concerned). This increase of the maximum penalty had also the effect of extending the timeframe for instituting an action in respect of the violation of an intellectual property right and of making the provisions on detention of suspected persons possible. It seems that the Courts more and more tend to adjudicate imprisonment sanctions, at least in more flagrant copyright infringement cases. As an example can be mentioned that the Court of Appeal in Stockholm in a judgement of 26 September 1996, invoked, inter alia, the fact that the piracy activities of a defendant involved several hundreds of copies of children's movies which are commercially interesting for a comparatively long period in an important market and that, consequently great damage had been caused to the right-owners. Moreover, part of the activities had occurred through different shops, a fact that would make possible a wide distribution which was therefore especially dangerous also because the distribution would occur without the public suspecting that the copies were pirated ones. For these reasons the Court found that the penalty should be imprisonment.