Canon pardons copycats after public apology

Japanese electronics giant Canon has agreed to drop a case against four Myanmar sellers of imitation ink cartridges, following a public apology.

Two shopkeepers in Nay Pyi Taw and two in Pyinmana had been selling fake Canon cartridges for almost four years.

After making inquiries, Canon opened a case at Myoma Police Station in Nay Pyi Taw on August 28 under sections 468 and 486 of the penal code, and seized the imitation cartridges.

Section 468 prohibits forgery for the purpose of cheating and section 486 forbids selling goods marked with a counterfeit trademark.

However, the Japanese firm has agreed to settle the dispute out of court, said Daw Tin Ohnmar Htun, Canon’s lawyer and vice chair of the Asean Intellectual Property Owners Association.

“I don’t want our people to go to court, and they don’t want to hurt Japanese business. They have apologised and signed an agreement not to sell imitation products in future,” she said at a media conference in Nay Pyi Taw on September 16. “The company has now released them.”

U Han Myo Aung, managing director of Aung Myin Thu Computer, Printer and Accessories Sales and Services, and U Ye Thu Ya, manager of Laser IT and Mobile Shop, published to apology to Canon through state-owned media earlier this month.

The shopkeepers had no intention of hurting Canon’s profits, said Daw Tin Ohnmar Htun. The counterfeit ink cartridges, which are used for printers, were sold at less than five times the price of the originals.

More than 100 cartridges from the shops in Pyinmana and 49 from the shops in Nay Pyi Taw were seized, with a total value of around K1 million ($774). The offending items have been sent to the Criminal Investigation Department to be examined, said Daw Tin Ohnmar Htun.

U Aung Soe, an expert on intellectual property, stressed the importance of respecting brands. “We have to consider labels, if we want our country to develop. Don’t steal from other people’s brains to produce imitations,” he said.

Canon officials have previously said they would not set up a Myanmar production facility until IP laws are enacted and enforced. For now, the company imports genuine products to Myanmar from China, which are marked by a distinct hologram on the packaging.

Inez Siantar, a Singapore-based Canon representative, told media in Yangon last year that Canon products such as ink cartridges are being widely imitated on a wholesale level in Myanmar, hindering the company’s investment prospects in the country.

Myanmar’s IP laws are not yet in line with international standards, but four draft bills published in July could lead to greater awareness as well as stricter punishments.

Source: Myanmar Times

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