Is it illegal to buy counterfeit or knockoff designer goods?

Article written by Articledom, interesting articles from around the dome 

Often Americans buy counterfeit or knockoff designer goods. You may wonder if buying such an item is legal, as you are knowingly buying a product that is a copy of a trademark.

To understand if purchases such as these are illegal, it is important to distinguish between counterfeit and knock off.  Counterfeit items are copies of a trademark brand and designed to closely resemble the original. Most often counterfeits can look identical and resemble the original down to its stitching. A knockoff, on the other hand, does not have the exact design or original marks of the manufacturer; they only resemble the original product.

Knockoffs are cheap imitations and are therefore not clearly illegal. If the buyer decides to sell their knockoff, they will not have law officials knocking at their door. Counterfeits, however, can be illegal. This is because the buyer thinks and pays for an original product and therefore becomes a victim. In this case, it is not illegal for the buyer to buy a counterfeit,  as they are not aware of it being fake. However, if the buyer decides to sell the counterfeit, they could face legal charges such as criminal penalties.

If you are a consumer and you’re concerned if you are buying a counterfeit, you should firstly consider the price. Counterfeits are often sold at lower prices than the original. You could also visit the brands’ online website to locate stores that carry the brand.