Florida Counterfeit Protection Lawyer
Florida Intellectual Property Lawyers Protecting Brand Identity from Counterfeits
As a trademark holder, vigorously monitoring the marketplace and taking aggressive action against counterfeiters are essential to maintaining sales volume and protecting the integrity of your brand. Working with an experienced Florida counterfeit protection lawyer will help stop counterfeiting at the earliest possible stage while protecting your trademark and obtaining compensation for any economic damage caused.
What are Counterfeit Goods?
Trademarks are governed by a federal law known as the Lanham Act. Under the Lanham Act, a counterfeit mark includes a counterfeit of a registered mark that is registered in the Principal Register and is in use, regardless of whether the counterfeiter knew the mark was registered. A counterfeit is also defined as a spurious designation that is identical with or substantially indistinguishable from a protected designation. Counterfeiting is the act of making or selling lookalike goods or services bearing fake trademarks.
The Lanham Act prohibits the import, export, and sale of counterfeit goods, which may be seized and detained by the government. Illegal acts include intentionally using a mark or designation knowing it is counterfeit in connection with the sale or distribution of goods or services, as well as providing counterfeit goods or services with the intent that the recipient would sell or distribute them. A contributory infringer could also be exposed to secondary liability for contributory infringement, such as by hosting a website that is selling fake goods or renting space to a booth or stall in a marketplace that is selling counterfeits.
Whether the alleged infringing activity creates a likelihood of confusion is typically the central issue in most cases of trademark infringement, and multiple factors need to be dissected and analyzed. This is not the case when dealing with counterfeit goods, which by their nature create a likelihood of confusion. Also, a counterfeit good doesn’t have to trick the consumer to be illegal. Even if the purchaser knows they are buying a counterfeit item, the sale still infringes on the trademark and damages the holder of the mark.
Is a knockoff the same thing as a counterfeit? Not necessarily. Slight details and differentiations between products may or may not be considered counterfeiting. For instance, a dress that mimics the style of a famous designer may be called a knockoff, but it may not necessarily be an illegal counterfeit good.
How do I Stop Someone from Selling Counterfeit Goods?
A preliminary step that may yield results is to send a cease and desist letter informing the counterfeiter of their illegal activity and the consequences that could result from further infringing activity. If a cease and desist letter is ineffective or inappropriate to the circumstances, litigation may be the preferred course of action.
The Lanham Act treats counterfeiting much more harshly than other forms of trademark infringement. A counterfeiter can be assessed statutory damages as much as $2,000,000 for willful use of a counterfeit mark, per counterfeit mark, per type of goods or services as the court considers just plus costs and reasonable attorney fees in exceptional cases.
You may also elect to receive statutory damages instead of having to prove actual damages. The amount of statutory damages is within the discretion of the court, but they can range from $1,000 to $200,000 per counterfeit mark per type of good or service. If the court finds that the use of the counterfeit mark was willful (and willful use is presumed in many situations), then statutory damages can go as high as two million dollars per counterfeit mark.
Call Our Florida Counterfeit Goods & Trademark Protection Lawyers Today
It is possible to be accused of counterfeiting when you did not know about the existence of a similar mark, or there may be a legitimate dispute over who first used or registered a trademark, or a large company is just trying to bully you to stop entry in the market place of your goods. These are complicated cases that require the help of knowledgeable, skilled and experienced trademark protection attorneys.
To schedule a confidential consultation regarding the possible existence of counterfeit goods and how to handle the matter, contact Perkins Law today. Our Florida counterfeit protection attorneys are here to protect your brand from all types of infringement, including counterfeit goods at the Miami port of entry or throughout South Florida and the rest of the United States.