Is It Illegal To Purchase Counterfeit Goods?

Replica watches as well as other replica goods seem to be increasing in prevalence in the offline and online marketplaces. Although their design is inspired by an original brand, they are legal as they leave off the trademark or distinguishing logo of the genuine brand. They are even sold by reputable companies. However, there are goods which are actually illegal in its production, distribution and sale, as well as its transport – counterfeits.

You probably have seen or have come across a counterfeit product, especially with its prevalence today. Or perhaps you have unknowingly bought one, just to later discover that the brand promoted at an unbelievable price that’s hard to resist wasn’t the brand at all. With heightened globalization broadening the production and sale of products and goods all over the globe with the plea of lesser prices, counterfeiting has turned into a major trade. This is exactly the case in the United States wherein it houses one of the biggest and major markets for consumer products.

Counterfeit Goods – What is it?

Most often, counterfeit goods are goods of substandard quality which are sold by another business’s trademark. A trademark is an officially and legitimately recognized company logo or mark that are customarily attached or marked onto products and goods it sells in the market. These trademarks safeguard the reputation of a company and permit consumers to differentiate between goods and products in the market. These trademarks never expire and, as soon as the trademark is registered with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the company could exclusively make use of its mark in the United States and could lawfully stop other companies and businesses from utilizing even identical looking marks if consumers become confused by it.

Is it Unlawful to Purchase Counterfeits?

Federal law in the United States protecting these trademarks makes it unlawful to intentionally traffic goods that are counterfeited. This involves the manufacturing, sale as well as the transport of counterfeits. However, the Department of Justice of the U.S. has specified that the law does not outlaw a person from purchasing a counterfeit good for their own usage, even though they know that the product is a counterfeit.

Traffickers of counterfeit goods who are first-time offenders could get a maximum of $2 million penalization and 10 years jail time, while Second-time offenders gets a $5 million penalization and 20 years jail time. Furthermore, if a company traffics in goods that are counterfeit, it could be answerable to a $15 million fine.