The holiday season is arguably the most important for both brick-and-mortar and online retailers. With the amount of commerce conducted online, it is almost a given that counterfeits of popular items will be offered for sale, often to unsuspecting consumers.

Because of this, it is increasingly important for companies to be cognizant of trademark counterfeiting. While one may think only of fraudulent notes when considering counterfeiting, it actually applies to the sale and distribution of fraudulently advertised goods, including toys, perfumes, apparel and medications. With the global reach of counterfeiting, it is estimated that $600 billion in sales were lost last year, and that number is expected to climb in 2017. 

With the proliferation of trademark counterfeiting, it may be easy to confuse it with trademark infringement. The difference is simple in the abstract. Trademark counterfeiting is the knowing and intentional act of a third party to place an identical, trademarked symbol on its own goods with the intent to deceive the consumer. Conversely, trademark infringement is the use of a similar mark that is likely to confuse a consumer. So in essence, trademark counterfeiting is a form of trademark infringement, but not all infringement will equate to counterfeiting.

Nevertheless, the potential for lost profits and damage to a company’s brand is important enough for companies to review their policies on engaging counterfeiters in the digital marketplace. An experienced intellectual property attorney can update or create policies that can prevent losses.

The preceding is provided for informational purposes only and is not legal advice.