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Premier League funds prosecution

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The Premier League's determination to protect its intellectual property rights and those of its broadcasters is demonstrated by its involvement in the public prosecution of a man accused of importing cut-price satellite decoder cards.

Brent and Harrow Trading Services was indemnified by the league in the prosecution of a man accused of selling Albanian decoder cards to customers looking for a cheaper way of watching matches.  The underlying case has similarities with that of Karen Murphy, the pub landlady from Portsmouth who secured a partial victory against the league at the European Court of Justice in October.

Lord Justice Davis ruled that the warrants were unlawful because Trading Standards failed to disclose the ECJ opinion in the Murphy case to the judge awarding them.    In the Murphy case the ECJ ruled that the issue were civil rather than criminal.

Lord Justice Davis said in his decision, 'It would ... be a matter of concern if Trading Standards  departments were to take enforcement steps at the behest of, and financially assisted by, powerful and wealthy corporations  which otherwise might not be taken.  But that ... does not bear on the outcome here.'