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The Line Between Counterfeit and Knockoffs and When It Gets Crossed

April 25, 2024 Posted In Fraud

The market for authentic, high-quality fashion goods like luxury handbags and jewelry continues to be strong. However, there is an increasing level of demand for knockoff versions of these products. Today’s younger consumer, in particular, is not only willing to purchase and wear off-brand items that look like the real thing, but they are sharing with their friends how to do the same thing.

Counterfeit items are illegal. Selling them is illegal, and, in some ways, promoting their sale can also find you in hot water. If you are facing charges related to selling counterfeit items, it is critical that you take these charges seriously with assistance from an Atlanta counterfeit lawyer at Wallack Law.

Fake Products and Today’s Teen

There is a growing trend in which teens are purchasing knockoff products that claim to be authentic items. It is possible to find these on social media and some online retailer sites, even Amazon. This younger generation is poised for risk in this area:

  • They have luxury tastes, but they do not have the budget for them.
  • They have grown up with social media, meaning they know how to find information.
  • They are crafty enough to come up with products that look the same or similar.

A trend on online forums and social media sites like TikTok is to share where these products can be purchased. There are some channels on the video platform that provide individuals with specific instructions on how to find knockoffs (not necessarily the originals) that can be sold at a small fraction of the cost.

Crossing the Line Illegally

The key question for many people is a pretty complicated one. Is it legal to buy fakes or replicas of these products and then tell your friends how to do so?

The law in this area continues to be “new” and developing since TikTok’s actual standards are not clear on whether they allow such posts. However, it could be seen as a violation of trademark laws if someone is selling a Coach bag with a Coach name and logo on it that is a fake. The copying and use of logos and labels by consumers in the making of their own products or in the sale of those products is illegal.

Brands have the right to pursue those who use their logos and trademarks illegally. That means that these organizations can file a complaint and even demand such videos be removed. Is it illegal? It could be, but it is less likely to be something that the court will spend much time on.

What to Do If You Are Charged

If you have been charged with counterfeit items, whether selling them or promoting the purchase of them, we strongly encourage you to seek out the help of a criminal defense attorney. These charges could include fines, and in the case of a brand coming after you, they could involve financial losses that are substantial. Avoid actions that could be deemed as promoting the use of those products.