A former employee of North Yorkshire furniture maker Robert Thompson’s Craftsmen Limited, well-known for the carved mouse trademark, has pleaded guilty to making fake “Mouseman” products.
Daniel Cooke of Harrier’s Croft, Dalton, North Yorkshire was given a community order for 100 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay costs of £1,592 at York Magistrates’ Court today after pleading guilty to six offences under the Trade Marks Act 1994.
The offences related to making and selling items that bore copies of the carved mouse trademark of furniture makers Robert Thompson’s Craftsmen Limited of Kilburn, North Yorkshire.
North Yorkshire County Council’s trading standards team began an investigation into Mr Cooke following a complaint from the company.
Daniel Cooke had joined Robert Thompson’s Craftsmen Limited as an apprentice in 2009, and left the company in 2017. Subsequently, one of the directors noticed a number of “Mouseman” products, which it appeared to him might not be genuine, for sale on eBay. The company arranged for the purchase of a barometer, and on examination it was found that it had not been produced in the company workshop but did bear the trademark mouse, which had been carved by Daniel Cooke.
Trading standards officers subsequently recovered a number of fake “Mouseman” items from Daniel Cooke’s home, including a coffee table, a moneybox and a Yorkshire rose. He co-operated with the investigation and admitted making the items. Investigation of the eBay account used showed that Mr Cooke had sold 70 fake items, including nut bowls, ashtrays, clocks, bookends and a nest of tables.
Sentencing Cooke, the chair of the magistrates’ bench said that this was a serious matter and showed a high level of professionalism using a skill taught to Mr Cooke by Robert Thompson’s Craftsmen Limited. However, Mr Cooke had co-operated with the authorities and had turned his life around, and the community order reflected that.
County Councillor Andrew Lee, Executive Member for Trading Standards, said: “Buyers of the items sold by Daniel Cooke were expecting to get an original product crafted in the Robert Thompson workshops. Instead, they were sent poorer copies made by Daniel Cooke after he had left the company. These copies did not meet the standards set by the company, and had the potential to damage the reputation of a long-established North Yorkshire business.
“The county council is determined to ensure that North Yorkshire is a good place to do business, and we will take action against anyone who harms North Yorkshire businesses as well as North Yorkshire consumers.”
Ian Thompson Cartwright, managing director of Robert Thompson’s Craftsmen Limited, said: “Robert Thompson’s Craftsmen Ltd, the family-run, Yorkshire-based business is grateful to Trading Standards for pursuing this particular case against Daniel Cooke, a former employee, and achieving a successful conviction. For this to happen to a small business like ours not only puts our reputation on the line, it could also jeopardise current employees’ jobs. With the growth in online sales, it’s reassuring for us all to know that trading standards are protecting businesses and consumers from individuals who sell counterfeit goods.”