What happens if you sell counterfeit goods?

Most of us are familiar enough with counterfeit goods, usually in the form of knock-off handbags and watches. While buying or selling counterfeit goods may seem innocent enough, trafficking and selling counterfeit goods carries hefty penalties under U.S. federal law. If you’ve been charged with selling counterfeit good, you need the help of the attorneys at the Law Offices of Paula M. Connelly.

Trafficking Counterfeit Goods

Many people who sell counterfeit goods first bring them into the U.S. from another country, referred to as trafficking. According to 18 U.S. Code Section 2320, whoever intentionally “traffics in goods or services and knowingly uses a counterfeit mark on or in connection with such goods or services” shall face a penalty of a fine of not more than $2,000,000 and a prison sentence of not more than 10 years, or both. For a subsequent violation, the penalty is increased to up to a $5,000,000 fine and up to 20 years in prison.

In addition, U.S. Customs monitors imports from foreign countries to ensure that goods that may be in violation of trademark laws are not allowed into the commerce of the United States.  Intellectual Property Rights is a Priority Trade Area for Customs and goods that appear to be infringing a registered trademark will be seized by Customs.

Selling Counterfeit Goods

Not only is it illegal to bring in goods to the U.S. that are counterfeit, or that use a trademark without proper authorization, but it’s also illegal to sell those goods. Under the Lanham Act, selling, offering for sale, distributing, or advertising any goods that are counterfeit is a violation of the law. In addition to facing criminal charges for trafficking or selling counterfeit goods, an accused party may also face civil charges as well for trademark infringement, unfair competition, trademark dilution, and copyright infringement.

What should I do if I’m contacted about selling counterfeit goods?

If you are selling counterfeit goods and receive a cease and desist letter from the attorney of the company of the goods that you are counterfeiting, it’s important that you take action. You should immediately stop selling the counterfeit goods and seek legal representation as soon as possible in the event that the attorney decides to press charges.  In addition, if you are contacted by U.S. Customs that your shipment has been seized for potential trademark violations, you should contact an attorney who specializes in that area.

Don’t Wait to Seek the Help of a Boston Counterfeit Goods Lawyer Now

If you’ve been accused of or charged with the importation or sale of counterfeit goods in Boston, you are endangering your case by failing to take legal action immediately. The sooner you seek the help of a counterfeit goods legal expert, the sooner you can begin building a defense. At the Law Offices of Paula M. Connelly, our legal team can help you today. For more information about how our attorneys can represent you, call us at 781-897-1771.


The information contained in this Website is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.

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