Trafficking in Counterfeit Goods
Most people know that attempting to counterfeit currency is unlawful. However, many are not aware that trafficking in any type of counterfeit good is actually also against the law. In fact, this kind of conduct violates federal law, which means that defendants who are charged with trafficking in counterfeit goods face serious penalties, including up to 20 years imprisonment and $15,000,000 in fines. Because the consequences of conviction are so severe, those who have been accused of this type of offense are strongly encouraged to speak with an experienced federal crime attorney who can help them begin building a solid defense.
A person can be charged in federal court with trafficking in counterfeit goods if he or she traffics in goods or services that have a counterfeit mark. Trafficking is specifically defined as:
- Transporting or transferring goods or services to another person for the purpose of financial gain or commercial advantage; or
- Making, importing, exporting, or possessing counterfeit goods or services with the intent of transporting, transferring, or otherwise disposing of them.
Because this term is defined so broadly, a number of different actions could be charged under federal trafficking law, including:
- Trafficking in and knowingly using a counterfeit mark on goods or services;
- Trafficking in patches, labels, stickers, wrappers, containers, documentation, or packaging, while also knowing that a counterfeit mark has been used and will likely cause mistake or confusion; and
- Trafficking in and knowingly using a counterfeit mark on a drug.
What qualifies as a counterfeit mark is also strictly defined as a mark used in connection with trafficking in goods or services that:
- Is identical with or indistinguishable from a mark registered with the U.S. Patent Office;
- Is applied to goods or services for which the mark is registered; and
- Will likely cause confusion or mistake among consumers.
It is important to note that a person or company cannot be convicted of this crime if it merely repackaged genuine goods or services and did not intend to deceive consumers or buyers.
The Consequences of Conviction
Those who are convicted of this offense could be fined up to $2,000,000 and sentenced to ten years in prison, although this amount and sentence could be enhanced if the defendant is not an individual but an entity, such as a company. Second or subsequent offenses are penalized even more harshly by up to 20 years imprisonment and $15,000,000 in fines, unless the crime involved drugs or military goods, in which case imprisonment could last for up to 30 years.
Call Today for Help with Your Case
Our Miami legal team has the experience and resources necessary to provide our clients with a full defense against these types of federal charges. Please call 305-670-9919 to speak with dedicated Miami federal crime attorney, Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. today.