What Are Counterfeit Goods and Is It A Crime To Sell Them?
Making counterfeit goods is a very serious form of infringement of a trademark. The act of making and selling the goods and services with a fake trademark that looks like the original branded goods and services is known as counterfeiting. For instance, if a business makes duplicate purses with a Gucci logo and subsequent trademark, then it will be certainly counted as the crime of counterfeiting. This counts as an act of copyright and trademark infringement because the main aim of the counterfeiters is to dupe or confuse the consumers by using the fake trademark on the counterfeited goods and services.
As per state law, counterfeiting is not limited only to sell the products and services with fake trademarks, but it also involves the buyers of such products and services even after knowing they are counterfeited. If you are using a counterfeited product knowingly then you are also guilty of counterfeiting, as you are deceiving others.
Counterfeit Goods in West Palm Beach
Some time back in 2010, a woman from West Palm Beach was found guilty of counterfeited luxury goods, including fake designer purses, etc. at her store. The culprt was Lisa Anne Desouki, a 42-year-old woman who admitted that she used to sell fake items of various imported brands like Prada, Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Gucci etc. from her store, “My Friend’s Closet.” She has been recently sentenced by the federal court to three years of probation.
Although recently sentenced, the investigation against Desouki was started in August 2010 by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers after seizing a package containing counterfeited handbags with fake labels of various designers, over 50 in number. This package of goods was mailed to the West Palm Beach home of Desouki from Hong Kong.
Another package containing 28 purses and 4 wallets was seized by the investigating team a few months later after the first seizure. This package was also addressed to Desouki’s home from Hong Kong. According to the authorities, all items in the package were counterfeit, as they were protected by a fake trademark.
More than 75 purses, watches, and wallets with different fake trademarks were seen by the federal agents at Desouki’s store. They were displayed for sale at a very low price, as opposed to their genuine counterparts. The estimated value of the counterfeit products found in Desouki’s store was assessed by prosecutors to be over $120,000, as opposed to the white collar crime lawyers, who assessed it was less than $30,000.
According to the state law, if caught selling counterfeit products in Florida, in addition to potential jail time, you can lose all of your business assets and investments, as well as your home, other personal property, and much more. If you are using counterfeit trademark intentionally, then the court can award a sentence for three times of the profits or damages caused to the owner of the trademark along with the fees of the opposing attorneys.
For more information, contact an experienced white collar crimes attorney.