NYC Counterfeit Goods Lawyers
If an individual is accused of selling, distributing, or wholesaling counterfeit items, it is a federal offense if the accused is charged and convicted. Primarily, this is due to the fact that goods are transported across state lines. In addition, these goods were more than likely imported from a foreign country. So if individuals who bring counterfeit items into the United States (with the intentions of selling them on the black market) are charged, he or she will face harsh consequences.
What Legally Defines Counterfeit Goods?
Counterfeit goods typically refer to manufactured items, which are usually of low quality when compared to the original item, that are sold under the name of the brand product. Some common counterfeit goods may be copies of the Apple iPhone, designer shoes, and more. Counterfeit production has become so advanced that it can sometimes be difficult to tell the difference between a genuine trademark and a fake one. Most of the popular brands that have been victim to counterfeit manufacturing and distribution. It is cheap to manufacture many counterfeit goods because they are developed in developing nations.
The Sale of Counterfeit Goods is a Federal Crime
If an individual purposefully sold counterfeit goods or services, it is a federal offense. In most cases, a federal prosecutor will aggressively seek to enforce the fullest penalties to those whom are accused of selling counterfeit goods. Not only can individuals be charged with this offense, companies that manufacture the fake products can also face charges.
The laws set in place against counterfeit activity was developed to protect the company that made the brand product as well as the consumer. When an individual buys fake produces under the assumption that it is a brand item, it not only wrongs the consumer, but it also cheats the brand manufacturer. A manufacturer will invest time and money into developing a high-quality product, and cheap, fake products, which look real but perform poorly, can ruin the reputation of the company.
According to the Trademark Counterfeiting Act of 1984, an individual who is charged with trafficking in counterfeit goods and any person or business that knowingly markets the items will face a conviction that could result in costly monetary fines as well as a lengthy prison sentence.
In legal terms, traffic is typically defined as a broad term that encompasses selling goods that have a counterfeit trademark. In addition, the term can also apply to transferring, transporting, or dispensing goods for money or anything that is of value.
What are the Consequences for Selling Counterfeit Goods?
If an individual is convicted, the penalties for selling counterfeit goods are:
A prison sentence that can be up to 10 years for the first offenses and 20 years for a repeated offense. However, when an individual knowingly caused the death of another individual due to the fact they were selling counterfeit goods, it can result in a life sentence in prison.
In addition, repeat offenders could face a maximum fine of $5 million dollars, and companies that are repeat offenders could face a maximum fine of $15 million.
Law enforcement officials will seize and destroy any counterfeit items that are found in the possession of the seller, wholesaler, or distributer.
What About Product Liability Claims?
In addition to criminal charges, those who are accused of selling counterfeit goods could also face civil lawsuits from the trademark owners whom were violated. According to the Federal Trademark Law, trademark owners are eligible to recover the following:
Any damages to the reputation of the brand or trademark;
Any profit losses that resulted from the counterfeit products being sold in place of the original product;
Additional injunctive relief.
In addition, trademark owners have the right to take legal action against an individual or company that did not know the product was counterfeit when it was sold. Trademark owners can also take legal action against these individuals and companies when the counterfeit product was the result of a person’s death.
Other losses that may apply include property damages, personal injury, and interruption of company operation. In most circumstances, the wholesaler will be held responsible for the damages. This is because the manufacturer is typically not able to be found to face prosecution, which can be due to the fact that many counterfeit manufacturers are located in foreign counterfeit and are not subject to United States court jurisdiction.
Those who face counterfeit goods charges should contact an attorney immediately. Unlike other federal crimes, selling counterfeit goods isn’t a charge that can be dismissed if an individual was unaware of the law in regards to such matter. Having a skilled and experienced New York City criminal defense attorney can ensure an individual’s rights are protected and help them choose the best course of action.