Businesses use trademarks to help consumers identify their products and to protect themselves against intellectual property theft. A trademark is a word(s) or symbol legally registered by use as resenting a product or company.
When an individual or a company uses someone else´s trademark without their permission, they could face counterfeiting charges. Counterfeiting is the act of illegally creating facsimiles of currency, a product, or a document with the intent to deceive, as by making or selling a counterfeit, individuals seek to profit from the trademark owner´s reputation.
Counterfeiting can be both charged in state and federal court. Local and federal law enforcement authorities often work together in task forces. What determines whether the state or federal government will handle the prosecution is the severity of the offense.
In the state of Florida, there are two types of offenses when it comes to counterfeiting private labels:
- Forging or counterfeiting any type of services or goods that are protected by trademarks or service marks.
- Selling or offering to sell goods or services with a forged trademark or service mark.
Penalties You May Face If Charged With Counferteiting.
In Florida, the severity of the punishment depends on the amount of items bearing counterfeited marks:
- A first-degree misdemeanor happens when the number of items counterfeited or sold is less than 100. The defendant may face up to a year in jail.
- When the crime involves between 100 and 1,000 items the offense is a felony of the third degree. The punishment can be up to five years in prison.
- The offense is considered a second-degree felony when there are more than 1,000 items, and it is punishable with up to fifteen years in prison.
Commonly Counterfeit Items.
Counterfeit goods span multiple industries, but here are some of the most commonly counterfeited items:
- Legal tender or foreign currencies.
- Higher-end watches, clothing, jewelry.
- Credit cards.
- Treasury bonds.
- Drivers´ licenses.
What Should You Do If You´ve Been Charged With Counterfeiting?
If you have been charged with counterfeiting, it is imperative that you seek legal advice to safeguard your rights and best interests. Contact Criminal Defense Attorney Russell Spatz, who has more than 40 years of experience. Call 305-442-0200 to schedule a meeting today.