§ Mr. Madden
To ask the President of the Board of Trade, pursuant to the letter, dated 3 March from the Under-Secretary of State for Corporate Affairs to the hon. Member for Bradford, West, if he will list the powers available to local authorities and the police to address the problems arising from the sale of counterfeit and unsafe goods at car boot sales; what representations he has received from local authorities, the police and others concerning the effectiveness of current powers; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Neil Hamilton
[holding answer 15 March 1994]: The powers under which local authorities may act against counterfeit or unsafe goods are contained within the Trade Descriptions Act 1968, the Trade Marks Act 1938, as amended in 1988, and the Consumer Protection Act 1987 and specific consumer safety regulations. The police may take action against counterfeit goods under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. In addition to these specific powers against counterfeit or unsafe goods, local authorities and the police have a number of powers to control temporary markets and car boot sales available to them under other legislation.
The Government are also aware of the problems of trade in counterfeit goods where traders seek to use disclaimers about the goods to prevent prosecution under the Trade Descriptions Act. That is why we are seeking to improve the powers available to local authorities and the police through the provisions of the Trade Marks Bill, which has just completed its passage through another place. The Bill addresses the use of disclaimers by making it an offence to sell counterfeit goods, even if the goods are acknowledged as copies at the point of sale.
There has been a small number of representations on this subject.