The manufacturing and trade of counterfeit goods is a growing problem around the world. Even here in Ohio, trademark counterfeiting is considered a serious crime outlined in section 2913.34 of the Ohio Revised Code.
The charges can vary significantly depending on the circumstances of the crime. Punishment can range from a class one misdemeanor to a third-degree felony. If you’re facing trademark counterfeiting charges, then finding an experienced Cincinnati counterfeiting lawyer should be a top priority.
At Patituce & Associates, we have helped dozens of clients overcome excessive trademark counterfeiting charges. We can utilize more than thirty years of legal experience to help mitigate or dismiss the charges completely.
We understand how these cases work on both sides of the courtroom and what evidence is best for building a strong defense. Call our Cincinnati white-collar crime attorneys at 513-657-2440 today to begin planning your legal strategy.
What Is Trademark Counterfeiting?
Trademark counterfeiting laws are intended to help protect consumers and corporate brands alike. They prevent the manufacturing of goods or services marked by counterfeit trademarks.
Shady businesses often use these false trademarks to establish trust with consumers and make their products seem more valuable than they are. These types of products can severely harm a brand’s reputation when the customers are unaware of their counterfeit nature.
What Are the Types of Counterfeiting Charges?
There are several forbidden actions outlined in the Ohio Revised Code. These crimes range in severity depending on the cumulative sales price of the counterfeit products.
Some of the specific actions that Ohio’s trademark counterfeiting law forbids include:
- Attaching a counterfeit trademark to any goods or services.
- Knowingly selling goods with a counterfeit trademark affixed.
- Knowingly purchasing goods with counterfeit trademarks with the intention to sell the items.
- Providing services with a counterfeit trademark in connection with the service.
- Purchasing or possessing any tools knowingly used to produce counterfeit trademarks.
In addition to criminal punishment, trademark counterfeiting charges also make it easy for law enforcement officers to seize a variety of items. They can seize any goods believed to possess counterfeit trademarks when the case begins.
They can also seize any tools, instruments, or machines that are used to create counterfeit trademarks. Finally, if you are found guilty of any of the violations in section 2913, then all of the seized goods are considered contraband and forfeited.
How Is Counterfeiting Charged? Do the Specifics of a Case Matter?
Yes. The specifics of the case have a big influence on the severity of the crime. The most important element that the judge will consider in many cases is the value of the goods or the amount of money made through their sale.
The lowest charge is a first-degree misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of six months in jail. The possession or sale of any instruments or machines used to produce counterfeit trademarks falls into this category. The knowing purchase of counterfeit goods with the intent to sell and actually selling counterfeit goods are both initially in this category.
Attaching a counterfeit trademark to any goods or services is classified as a fifth-degree misdemeanor. It can carry a prison sentence between 6 and 12 months with an additional fine as high as $2,500.
If the cumulative sales price of the counterfeit goods is between $5,000 and $100,000, then it is considered a fourth-degree felony. If the sales price exceeds $100,000 then it is escalated to a third-degree felony.
A fourth-degree felony in Ohio has a maximum prison sentence of 18 months, and a third-degree felony can go up to 36 months.
How Can Patituce & Associates Help a Counterfeiting Charge?
Counterfeiting charges can be defended with the right legal strategy. One of the most common defense strategies we employ is a lack of knowledge. Several counterfeiting statutes require that you purchased or sold goods with knowledge of the counterfeit trademark.
If you were unaware of this deception, then the charges may be voided entirely. This is only one of the potential defensive strategies we can use depending on your unique situation.
Fight Back With an Experienced Cincinnati Counterfeiting Lawyer!
Having a team of experienced lawyers in your corner is the only way you can hope to beat a serious trademark counterfeiting charge. Our lawyers at Patituce & Associates understand how the prosecution thinks and know the best ways to react. We gather evidence, testimonies, and financial records that will help build a strong defense for all charges.