Belfast trader fined for selling counterfeit goods

04 May 2016

In a case brought by the Trading Standards Service of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, Paul Gerard McDonald (52) of Serpentine Road, Newtownabbey, who traded on eBay, pleaded guilty to eight charges under Section 92 of Trade Marks Act 1994. The court also granted a forfeiture order in relation to items seized by Trading Standards.

The trader was brought to the attention of the Trading Standards Service following a complaint by a company that protects the interests of intellectual property rights holders. Investigations revealed that Paul McDonald had a substantial presence on eBay via his business “Sofaking Cool Ltd”.
In November 2013, Trading Standards Officers went to Paul McDonald’s premises, where they found a garden shed set up as a small printing factory, with printing equipment, t-shirts and computers. 

Paul McDonald admitted printing and selling t-shirts, bearing trademarks that he had no permission to use, and subsequently selling them via his eBay shop. In the two year period prior to Trading Standards action against him, investigations show he had in excess of 20,000 thousand sales on eBay with a total value of more than £100,000. 

Nicholas Lane, Inspector for Trading Standards Service said: “Counterfeiting harms legitimate business and threatens jobs. The Trading Standards Service will continue to uncover sellers of counterfeit goods on auction sites and social media sites and we will not hesitate to take enforcement action against any trader found to be selling fakes. We would remind anyone involved in this type of activity that the courts can impose penalties of up to £5,000 or six months in prison per offence if trademarks or copyrights are infringed. Individuals can also be subject to investigations under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.”

Anyone who believes they have been sold counterfeit goods should contact Consumerline on 0300 1236262 or visit nidirect ( or via the Northern Ireland Trading Standards Service Facebook page.

Notes to editors:

1. The Trade Marks Act 1994, Section 92, creates offences for applying trade marks to goods without the permission of the trade mark holder and for supplying and offering to supply those goods. Maximum penalty on summary conviction is £5,000 and or six months in prison per charge-

2. For press enquiries please contact DETI Press Office on tel: 028 9052 9604. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.