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€3000 fine for selling counterfeit goods in Monaco

Les ruelles de Monaco-ville © Monaco Tribune

A shopkeeper was given a fine of €3,000 and his company received a suspended €15,000 fine for selling counterfeit Monaco and Monte-Carlo brand products.

The verdict, pronounced on May 28, concerned a case that is more commonplace than you might think. It all started with complaints from rival retailers. They reported sales of clothing and accessories under the Monaco brand, without the retailer paying any royalties to Monaco Brands, the company responsible for protecting the Monaco and Monte-Carlo brands against counterfeit goods.


In November 2021, customs officials visited one of the defendant’s shops and discovered 435 items bearing the Monaco/ Monte-Carlo brands. However, the trader had no licence to sell them and did not pay a percentage of his profits to Monaco Brands.

“I didn’t know a fee had to be paid,” said the defendant, claiming to have bought the products at a stock clearance in Spain and printed them himself in Menton. However Monaco Brands, through its lawyer, insists that it sent a letter of information to all retailers.

The store owner, who owns a second one in rue Grimaldi,  explained that he never received a letter: “I’m acting in good faith,” claims the accused, “as soon as I knew I wasn’t allowed to do so, I stopped.”  He explains that he has been in compliance and has only used approved suppliers since.

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Unsuccessful out-of-court negotiations

Monaco Brands and the retailer tried to reach an amicable settlement, but discussions fell through. The Monegasque company is demanding €50,000, a sum that the defendant and his company claim to be unable to pay, given the impact of the health crisis.

The defendant attempted to cooperate and provided, as requested, all his companies’ accounts, which were deemed “imperfect” by Maitre Bergonzi, Monaco Brands’ lawyer. He added during his closing arguments that “the gentleman declares what he feels like declaring. We don’t understand his figures.”

Maitre Ballerio, representing the defendant and his company, pointed out that the printed t-shirts represented only one percent of the store’s stock, “435 out of 40,000 items.” He asked the court for leniency, recalling a similar case in 2019 in which the court “had only handed down a suspended fine.” 

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Acquitted for accessories, guilty for clothes

Unfortunately for the defendant, he did receive a fine. The accused was acquitted for the sale and manufacture of accessories in the Principality’s colours, due to lack of evidence. During their search, the customs officials had only found clothes printed with Monaco logos, but no accessories.

However, he was found guilty regarding the clothing and received a personal fine of €3,000 and a suspended €15,000 fine for his company.

This is not the final chapter in the story. On July 12, the court will have to rule on the civil case and the amount that the company will have to pay to Monaco Brands for damages.