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July 26, 2012 / Narine Khngikyan

Buying Counterfeit Goods Is Just No Good!

Who doesn’t love a designer handbag or pair of shoes? Usually, these luxurious goods come with hefty price tags which many Americans just can’t afford. To satisfy the desire of owning a luxury good, consumers sometimes turn to rogue websites to buy knock-off versions of some of the world’s most coveted designer pieces.  Websites like and offer consumers all over the world the ability to purchase all kinds of replica goods like Rolex watches, Louis Vuitton handbags and those infamous Christian Louboutin heels with red soles, for a fraction of the price.

For years now, great measures have been taken to end the sales of knock-off and replica goods. For example, in 2010, Louis Vuitton sued e-commerce giant Ebay, alleging that  eBay allowed replicas of Louis Vuitton goods to be auctioned on their website,  harming the reputation of Louis Vuitton and the LV trademark.   The fashion industry and counterfeit organizations like International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition (IACC) have frowned upon the counterfeit black market and launched numerous campaigns in the past to educate consumers that buying counterfeit goods is not a good look.  Generally linked to organized crime and a shoe-in to hurt the economy, phony websites also put buyers at risk of identity theft. Kristina Montanaro, associate counsel and director of special programs for the IACC warns shoppers that purchasing from phony websites puts their finances in jeopardy since they are “handing their credit card information over to hardened criminals.”

In hopes of ending the consumption of counterfeit goods, a new legislation has been introduced in New York City that instead of targeting sellers, targets individuals who buy counterfeit goods. Modeled after laws in  Italy and France, where it is illegal to buy counterfeit goods, the new legislation would punish individuals who buy fake goods from unauthorized dealers. The legislation introduced by City Councilwoman Margaret Chin, would make it illegal to buy knock off goods, punishable by a Class A misdemeanor with the possibility of jail time for one year or a fine of $1000.00. The legislation is intended to encourage law enforcement officers to charge people caught buying counterfeit goods and in turn, punish those that support illegal trade since many of these counterfeit goods are imported from China. Chin hopes to get the bill passed by late 2013 and if successful, it could spark similar legislative moves across the nation.

Montaro who supports Anti-Counterfeit campaigns isn’t quite sold on the idea. In a statement to the Daily Finance she says, “it would require the government to prove that the consumer ‘knowingly’ purchased counterfeit goods. The problem is that knowledge can be difficult to prove,” and combined with the limited resources of law enforcement, this presents some concerns for us.”

If you have been the victim of purchasing goods that were represented to you as “genuine,” and later learned they were counterfeits, please contact Khorrami, LLP for a confidential consultation.



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