Trademark Counterfeiting, Product Piracy, and the Billion Dollar Threat to the U.S. Economy

By Paul R. Paradise | Go to book overview

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Trademark Counterfeiting

Trademark counterfeiting? Most people have never heard of the term, although they may be familiar with names such as imitation, knockoff, replica, look-alike, counterfeit, and fake.

Under the English common law, trademark counterfeiting was called palming off. What the counterfeiter does is to "palm off" a counterfeit product as the genuine product by a ruse as to source of origin. The counterfeiter usurps the goodwill and brand-name recognition inherent in a trademark by attaching a counterfeit trademark to his product. "Palming off" is often used to refer to trademark counterfeiting to this day. Illegal actions may also include the counterfeiting of the packaging, referred to as the trade dress. In France, the term "contrefaçon" refers to any form of intellectual property infringement, while the term "piraterie" is closer to the English meaning of counterfeiting. The term "l'imitation illicite" refers to the creation of an approximate copy of another's mark. In Germany, the expressions "markenpiraterie" and "produktpiraterie" encompass both the meaning of the English word counterfeiting and infringement.

Trademark counterfeiting is not to be confused with the counterfeiting of money, nor with industrial piracy, which involves the theft of trade secrets. Trademark counterfeiting refers to the unauthorized reproduction or counterfeiting of trademarks, while the terms product or commercial counterfeiting are broader and include the counterfeiting or piracy of intellectual property. 1 Although intellectual property rights include several types of protection such as patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, design protection, plant variety protection, and others,

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