Criminal liability for infringement on intellectual property or industrial property rights is set out in various codes of law. Copyright law plays the most important role. The sensational trial in Germany against those behind the internet portal kino.to for unauthorized exploitation of works protected by copyright resulted in multi-year prison sentences in 2012. Less common is prosecution for infringements on trademarks, registered designs, patents, utility models.
The issues involved are often international, so that the investigation of accusations is difficult given the different penalties in other jurisdictions and the difficulties of prosecution abroad. The spectrum of defendants ranges from private users, who have downloaded music files from the internet, to highly specialised members of organised crime.
One increasing trend in commercial criminal law related to intellectual property is that criminal prosecution following the filing of a complaint proves to be an extension of civil law disputes. An important role is thus played by the dispute over the granting the person who brought the complaint or third parties access to a file. Our experience in this field is very valuable with a view to danger posed to the profits of the company involved.