How a NY Defense Lawyer Can Help with eBay Fake Items Charges
In 2004, Tiffany & Co. filed a lawsuit against eBay Inc. The lawsuit claimed eBay had aided and abetted violations of the Tiffany trademark because it facilitated the sale of counterfeit Tiffany products on its auction website. As much as 73 percent of all jewelry being sold on eBay bearing the “Tiffany” label was counterfeit at the time. Although Tiffany & Co. sought compensation from eBay for trademark dilution, false advertising, and contributory trademark infringement, the Second Circuit held that eBay’s activities were protected by the nominative fair use defense.
While eBay may have prevailed in the civil lawsuit and was not liable, this does not mean it is legal to sell counterfeit or black market goods on eBay. Selling counterfeit items can result in state and federal criminal charges for a variety of different offenses. You could find yourself indicted and facing prosecution for crimes with maximum penalties of decades in prison and you need to be aggressive in fighting for your freedom. Bukh Law Firm, PLLC can provide you with the legal advocacy you need.
Our auction fraud lawyers have helped many clients accused of selling counterfeit goods on eBay. We can assist you in both negotiating a plea deal or in raising defenses in court so you can try to avoid a conviction for a serious crime. Call us as soon as you are questioned or charged so we can work on a defense strategy that is right for your case.
Selling Counterfeit Goods on eBay
Companies and brands protect their identifying marks by securing a trademark from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (US PTO). A trademark can be secured for any identifying picture, phrase, symbol, badge, crest or words. A name, like Gucci or Ralph Lauren, can be trademarked, as can a catchphrase like “Just Do It,” a symbol like the Apple with a bite taken out of it, or a figure like the Geico gecko.
Counterfeit goods are any items that use a trademark without authorization from the mark owner. Selling a silver bracelet with a heart on it becomes a trademark violation when the heart is inscribed with the name Tiffany & Company without the authorization of the famous jeweler.
Selling counterfeit goods on eBay involves listing an auction or multiple auctions with one or more items you know bear the unauthorized use of a trademark. Arkady Bukh has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in NYC TOP RATED ON: SUPER LAWYERS, AVVO, NATIONAL TRIAL LAWYERS
Top Rated Criminal Lawyer
Arkady Bukh has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in NYC
TOP RATED ON: SUPER LAWYERS, AVVO, NATIONAL TRIAL LAWYERS
Types of eBay Fake Items
There are many different types of counterfeit goods on eBay that can result in criminal charges. eBay fake items can include:
- Counterfeit sunglasses, including glasses purporting to be made by Gucci, Ray-Ban, Prada, or other top designers.
- Counterfeit handbags, including bags purporting to be made by Louis Vuitton, Prada, Coach, or Kate Spade.
- Counterfeit electronics, including cell phones or computers purporting to be made by Apple, Samsung, Sony, or other top electronics brands.
- Counterfeit replacement parts, including any part for an electronic device, vehicle, or appliance that bears the symbol or name of the manufacturer without the manufacturer’s authorization.
These are just a few of the different types of fake eBay items that frequently show up on the site.
Penalties for eBay Counterfeit Items
eBay policy prohibits the sale of counterfeit items. If you infringe on a trademark and sell items that bear a symbol or logo without permission, you could also find yourself facing a civil lawsuit from the trademark owner.
The most serious consequences for selling counterfeit goods on eBay, however, are criminal penalties. 18 U.S. Code Section 2320 prohibits trafficking in counterfeit goods. A first offense violation of this law can result in a fine of $2 million and imprisonment for 10 years. A company that violates trademark laws and traffics in counterfeit goods could be fined $5 million for a first offense. A second or subsequent offense can result in up to two decades of imprisonment.
You could also be charged with other federal offenses including wire and postal fraud if you use wire or mail communications to mislead a consumer into believing he is buying authentic goods when the items being sold are actually eBay fake items.
How Can an Auction Fraud Lawyer Help in eBay Counterfeit Goods Cases?
Trafficking in counterfeit goods is an intent offense. You must intentionally and knowingly traffic in counterfeit goods. This means if you purchase a purse and resell it without knowledge it is counterfeit, you should not be charged with a crime.
There are many possible ways to defend yourself by raising doubts about your intent or questions about whether you knew the goods were forgeries or frauds. Bukh Law Firm, PLLC can help you to explore all possible defenses to charges and can provide assistance in either negotiating a plea deal or fighting the charges in state or federal court. Call as soon as possible so we can begin fighting for you in your eBay counterfeit goods case.