The market for knock-off products is ever increasing. Luxury designer brands such as LVMH, Rolex, and Coach are in a constant battle to prevent the fakes from flooding the market place. Many people do not understand the legal issues surrounding counterfeits, and only know they want to get the knockoff for fraction of the cost of the real thing. This is basically theft of intellectual property.
Most luxury designers have registered their trademark designs with the US Patent and Trademark office. Once they have registered their marks they are the exclusive owners of the design and marks, and anyone who attempts to copy them should be notified by the trademark owner that they are infringing on the owners intellectual property rights. If the counterfeiter continues to infringe on the owners designs, they will find themselves in a federal court defending their actions.
The trademark owners must actively police their trademarks to make sure no one is infringing because if infringement is allowed to occur, the owners are sending a message that they do not care about protecting their own designs. Luxury designers prefer to keep their goods exclusive for the wealthy. Therefore, the designers do not want their designs to be diluted in the market place with everyone on the street carrying the same purse or wearing the same watch. In addition, these companies have invested a great deal of money to produce a quality product and to attract a wealthy buyer through expensive advertising.
Most counterfeits are of inferior quality and may confuse the public. In cases where the knockoff is very similar to the real product, who is able to distinguish the real from the fake? It takes an expert. But, if the fake purse is of inferior quality and is falling apart or has fraying around the edges, a potential customer might think its the real thing, and that the company produces cheaply products, and might then decide never to purchase any products by that designer. This results in untold lost income for the designer.
Why should you care about the wealthy brands? Its about fairness and free competition. Stealing anothers designs and profiting from them is unfair when trademark owners invest significantly in their products. Buyers should think twice about fairness before buying a counterfeit product.
Also, for those who think they are buying the real thing for a fraction of the price, the old adage applies: if the price is too good to be true, it probably is not true. If you are involved in any sort of trademark infringement or want to speak to a professional lawyer, now is the time!