In this series of posts we’ve been taking a look at New York’s penal laws, focusing on things like larceny, robbery, and the like. In today’s post, however, we’re going to shift gears a bit and look at something that has more to do with ideas and concepts: trademarking, and the ways in which trademarked items can be counterfeited. Now while you might think of money when you hear about counterfeiting, counterfeiting is just as real when it’s done in regards to things like intellectual property and concepts. So, as you’ve probably seen before in our earlier posts, we’re going to look at the different charges involved, starting with the less severe and working our way down to the first degree when it comes to trademark counterfeiting. So with that said, let’s start off with trademark counterfeiting in the third degree.
You’re guilty of trademark counterfeiting in the third degree when you manufacture, distribute, sell, or else offer for sale some sort of goods that have a counterfeit trademark on them. Now as with all of these charges, you’d have to know that these trademarks were counterfeit before using them, and you’d have to do so with the intent to deceive people. Trademark counterfeiting in the third degree is a class A misdemeanor.
For trademark counterfeiting in the second degree, you’re looking at the exact same kind of crime, with the addition being that the retail value of all the goods that have the counterfeit trademarks on them exceeds a value of $1,000. Trademark counterfeiting in the second degree is actually considered to be a class E felony.
Now we move on to trademark counterfeiting in the first degree. This charge is the same as the other two, with the only difference being that this one, being the most severe of all of them, has to do with counterfeiting goods with a total value amount if $100,000. Trademark counterfeiting in the first degree is looked at as a class C felony.
Seizure and destruction of goods bearing counterfeit trademarks.
Now that we’ve dealt with trademark counterfeiting in the first degree, we move on to the seizure and destruction of goods bearing counterfeit trademarks. For the purposes of this particular part of the law, any goods that are counterfeit can be seized by any police officer. The magistrate in this case has to determine whether probable cause exists in order to believe that the goods were manufactured in violation of this part of the law, and then if they were, the court can authorize these articles to be kept as evidence pending the defendant’s trial. When and if the defendant’s convicted, the articles involved should either be destroyed or donated. Destruction in this case doesn’t include the sale or distribution of the items in their actual original form. Donation of the items in question is done at the court’s discretion on request of some sort of law enforcement agency.
So now that we’ve broken down the law and taken it from its original complicated sort of legalese form and made it a little more understandable and manageable, I think you’ll agree that everything makes a lot more sense. While theft, larceny, and other charges involving things in the physical world are legitimate and important and worthy of study, it’s just as important that we take a look at things involving intellectual property and conceptual things, such as trademark counterfeiting. This is because while things like intellectual property and trademark might not seem to be considered as important under the law, they actually are, and penalties for violating these things can be just as strict as something like grand larceny or robbery. So we hope this post helped elucidate things when it comes to trademark counterfeiting, and we hope you’ll join us in future posts as we tackle other violations of the law.
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