As the world has grown smaller due to the internet and fast international travel, counterfeiting has become a widespread issue. What was once mostly a major concern for clothing retailers and designers, counterfeiting has become a major issue for almost every industry that creates any type of product.
More than 100 million counterfeit products are seized every year in the EU alone, according to a research report by the European Commission. Counterfeit goods worth approximately $1.77 trillion dollars are bought and sold around the globe. (source) With such a large trade in counterfeit products, it’s not a matter of “if” but “when” a business will need to face down counterfeiters.
Bad News: Counterfeiting Is Expensive.
The bad news for all trademark owners is that counterfeiting is a major business that costs intellectual property owners in the U.S. over $600 billion a year. And if counterfeiters aren’t stopped from imitating your brand’s products, it could endanger your reputation and your intellectual property rights.
Good News: The Law Is On Your Side
Fortunately, there are many anti-piracy and anti-counterfeiting laws on the books. In the United States, it is illegal to sell counterfeit goods. The Trademark Counterfeiting Act of 1984, carries fines of up to $5 million and prison time of up to 20 years, or in some cases a life sentence for individuals or companies who violate the law. Under the following circumstances, you can have counterfeit goods seized:
- You know where the counterfeit goods are located.
- The seized goods will be proof there was, in fact, a trademark infringement.
- There are no other legal orders you need to obtain first.
- You can specify a specific time period when the seizure will occur.
- The seizure is not publicized.
- The harm to the trademark holder is greater than the harm to the counterfeiter.
- The trademark holder will be immediately harmed without the seizure.
- The person obtaining the seizure order provides security to cover possible damages the other party may suffer.
A skilled trademark attorney can discuss seizures and other issues relating to your trademark protection against counterfeiters.
TotalTM® Defensive Monitoring
EmergeCounsel’s TotalTM® Comprehensive Trademark Package takes the protection of your intellectual property serious so that counterfeiters don’t damage your brand. In the first year of working with us, we aggressively monitor your trademark and promptly alert you of possible infringement and threats to your trademark. Once we identify infringers, we can work with you to strategize on the correct course of legal action—anything from cease and desist letters to lawsuits—we will work with you to stop infringers before they cause irreparable damage to your brand and reputation.
To find out more about how TotalTM® can help you protect your trademark and stop counterfeiters, schedule a consultation with us today.