White Collar Counterfeiters

Jul 6, 2009

White-collar crime is interesting, as it covers such a wide variety of crimes, for instance counterfeiting products.

The other term often used for counterfeit products is “pirated” and it refers to products that have been illegally made and are being sold. These knock-offs or bootlegged goods are often regarded as being a great way to save money and really, no one is hurt in the process.

While it is a great way to save money, rather than buy the original, it is definitely infringing on intellectual property rights. It’s not just selling goods in violation of a copyright either, it is selling goods that specifically imply they are original quality and are authentic when they are not.

Counterfeiting has an interesting history. It was once referred to as palming off under English common law, meaning the counterfeiter palmed off a fake as being genuine. In doing this, the fraudster was horning in on the established reputation and goodwill of the original creator.

Many people still refer to counterfeiting as trademark infringement, and while that may be a valid observation, it also refers to all intellectual property rights violations – trade secrets, copyright and patents, etc. Certainly it is regarded as being a devastating crime when perpetrated on a large scale that results in significant financial losses to the creator of the original work, etc.

It’s not just the loss of money that accrues to the original creator of a product that is at issue. The other serious problem that may arise from making and selling counterfeit products is their standard of quality. Consumers buying these sub-standard products may find they bought more than they bargained for if a certain item is defective and an accident is the result.

Having said that, this is a crime and is one where those charged must be accorded the right of a thorough criminal defense. Being charged with counterfeiting does not mean that the person charged was the person responsible for the scam or they were even aware of what they were doing. It’s all in the details of the case, and until all the details are known and the defense heard, judgment needs to be kept in abeyance.

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