You may have been driven to selling faked products or services as genuine articles because of pressing financial needs, but the companies that actually own the trademarks and are authorized to sell the products won’t care. They will be relentless in tracking you down and seeing you are prosecuted. Many will want to make an example of you to warn off others from cutting into their business.
Often people are caught when they sell counterfeit items over the Internet. A customer unhappy with your product may turn you in. Or even a competitor.
If you are arrested for trademark counterfeiting, you can face harsh repercussions that include prison and fines. If you are questioned by the police or charged, you will need to retain an experienced defense attorney.
What You Need To Know About Trademark Counterfeiting
You can be up against trademark counterfeiting charges if you knowingly manufacture, sell, display, distribute or advertise items or services that are unauthorized reproductions or copies of a trademarked product or service.
If you receive a cease and desist letter, but you continue to sell items with counterfeit trademarks anyway (and you are not an LLC), the company legitimately holding the trademark can get a default judgment against you personally as well as your business.
In Pennsylvania, if you are caught possessing 25 or more items with counterfeit marks, it is assumed that you intend to sell or distribute those items.
- You will face a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable by up to five years in prison, for a first offense.
- If it’s your second offense or if you have from 100 to 1,000 items with a counterfeit mark in your possession, or if the items in your possession have a total retail value of $2,000 to $10,000, it’s a felony of the third degree.
- If you have three or more convictions, possess 1,000 or more items with counterfeit marks, or the total retail value is more than $10,000, it’s a felony of the second degree.
What To Do If You Are Charged
If you are charged with trademark counterfeiting, do not anger the arresting officer unnecessarily. At this stage, do not discuss what happened with the police or claim your innocence.
- As with most criminal charges, you should not talk to the police or prosecutors without your attorney by your side. What you say can be taken out of context and used against you.
- If the police question you, tell them you want a lawyer and politely refuse to answer their questions.
What Your Lawyer Can Do
Your attorney will carefully review every aspect of your case to determine if there is evidence for all you have been accused of.
- Your lawyer will make every effort to discredit any evidence not in your favor.
- Much of what your lawyer can do to help you will depend on the exact circumstances of your case.
Your lawyer will be looking at every avenue that can help you, so it’s important that you give them all of the information that can support your case.
How A Lawyer Will Help
When you are up against a trademark counterfeiting charge, even before your first hearing you will be facing a determined prosecutor. You need an attorney who will stand by you every step of the way, work hard to discredit any evidence – and work with you to determine your best course of action.
Pennsylvania Trademark Counterfeiting Law
Trademark counterfeiting is described and defined under The Pennsylvania Criminal Code under Title 18, Chapter 41. Read the code here.
Questions? Contact us today.
Based on the evidence, Fienman Defense will try to show that the charges should be dismissed. If it’s in your best interest, we will work to negotiate a lesser sentence. Should the case go to trial, we will fight to present the strongest defense possible for your situation.