A public-interest lawsuit filed against a fake Starbucks coffee seller

NANJING — A consumer council in east China has filed a public-interest litigation against a food company for selling counterfeit Starbucks coffee products.

The Jiangsu Consumer Council demanded punitive compensation of 21 million yuan (about 3.2 million U.S. dollars), three times the amount involved in the case.

The intermediate people’s court in the city of Wuxi, east China’s Jiangsu Province, has accepted the case.

After receiving a tip-off in February 2018, the market regulation department in Wuxi found that the Shuangshan Food (Xiamen) Co., Ltd. in Fujian Province sold counterfeit Starbucks coffee products by forging authorization and customs declaration documents.

The investigation found that the company sold counterfeit Starbucks coffee products to over 50 merchants in 18 provinces around the country, involving sales of over 7 million yuan.

The public-interest lawsuit will safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of consumers as well as the intellectual property owner, which will help maintain the stability of the market, according to Ju Shang, deputy secretary-general of the Jiangsu Consumer Council.

In December last year, five people in the case’s criminal trial were sentenced to up to five years in prison, and the five, together with the Shuangshan Food (Xiamen) Co., Ltd., were ordered to pay fines totaling 10.48 million yuan, according to a verdict from the Xinwu district people’s court in Wuxi.

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