Goods are considered counterfeit when they bear a false or copied trademark, or are intended to be so similar to a trademarked item that they deceive consumers. A trademark is a word, symbol, or phrase, which is used to identify a particular product and distinguish it from other products. Counterfeit goods are prohibited by state and federal laws that deal with trademark infringement. Manufacturing, trafficking, or attempting to traffic in counterfeit goods can result in hefty fines and serious prison time.

Examples of Trademark Infringement

Typical items that are counterfeited in violation of trademark law include the following:

  • Shoes/Footwear
  • Cell Phones
  • Cameras
  • Handbags/wallets
  • Clothing
  • DVDs
  • Watches
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Jewelry

Federal Trademark Laws

Counterfeit goods and trademark infringement can be dealt with by individual states, but the most extensive laws are federal. These include the Lanham Act, the Trademark Counterfeiting Act of 1984, and the Stop Counterfeiting in Manufactured Goods Act. The first two laws had long outlawed trademark infringement and trademark dilution. The Stop Counterfeiting in Manufactured Goods Act specifically targeted the shipment of falsified labels or packaging, and attaching falsified labels or packaging to counterfeit goods, while strengthening penalties for offenders.

Penalties for Counterfeit Goods

Convictions under the federal statutes can result in up to ten years in prison for a first offense, with fines of up $2,000,000. Second offenses carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison with possible fines of $5,000,000. In addition, conviction will result in the forfeiture of all counterfeit goods, proceeds from the sale of the goods, and any property associated with the design, manufacture or transport of counterfeit items.

There is also restitution to be paid to the producers of the legitimate goods, and possible civil product liability claims from anyone injured by inferior products. Corporations dealing in counterfeit goods face fines of $5,000,000 for a first violation, and $15,000,000 for any subsequent violations.

Contact our Law Offices

If you face these serious charges, you need to protect your rights by seeking expert legal counsel. Our attorneys have a proven track record of success defending clients against state and federal offenses. Contact our law office today to speak with a trademark infringement defense attorney in Boston.

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