Am I Breaking the Law if I Buy "Knock Off" Goods in California?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Oct 18, 2015 | 0 Comments

California law takes "counterfeit marks"--that is, fake or "knock-off" versions of trademarks, such as those on designer items--very seriously. Penal Code 350 PC, California's law against sale or manufacture of counterfeit marks, provides for serious penalties, including jail time, for people who manufacture or sell these items.

But what if you just happen to buy or own a counterfeit version of a trademark item? In most cases, this is not a problem--even if you bought the product knowing it was a fake.

However, California Penal Code 350 does make it a crime to possess these items for sale--even if you didn't personally manufacture them, and even if you never actually sell them.

In other words, if you own or possess goods with counterfeit marks, and you intend to sell them, you can face the same potential jail sentence and hefty criminal fine as someone who actually did manufacture or sell these goods. 

About the Author

Neil Shouse

A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.


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