But I bought it from Macy's on closeout, or the Goodwill store or WalMart clearance rack?
Stores are run by people and people can make mistakes, even buyers for big stores. Just because you bought it from a store does not make it authentic. Buying directly from the brand owner is about the only way to be sure you are authentic. Anything else invokes some level of risk. People sometimes lie, including people from big stores, particularly if their job is at risk. Don't assume that clearance agent is being straight with you. He or she may be just trying to unload counterfeit product so you, not they, are stuck with it.
DMCA take down
17 USC 512 (part of the Copyright Act) brings a powerful new tool to brand owners. They can send a simple DMCA takedown notice form to the website (eBay, Amazon, AppleStore, WalMart.com, etc.) and the seller will likely take the product off their site in response, as otherwise they are ask risk for potential copyright infringement. The entity taken down can file a counternotice with contact information where they can be sued for copyright infringement and then the website will, within 10-14 days put the item back online unless the website gets a notice that suit has been filed. If you don't know whether your product is for sure authentic, filing a counternotice is quite risky as you have to identify yourself and open yourself up thereby to being sued.
CDLs (cease and desist letters)
The copyright owner can send you a demand letter insisting you stop infringing. That does not legally compel you to stop but really just puts you on notice of what might happen if you don't and what steps you might take to avoid what might happen. Usually the demand is you stop selling a counterfeit. When you get a CDL you need to get a lawyer as you are at risk. If you know you are right, your lawyer might recommend a Declaratory Judgment action whereby you ask a judge to rule you do not infringe and may continue doing what you were doing without the asserted liability. On the other hand, if you are not sure you are right, the CDL may offer a license or other reasonable compromise. And, if you hire a lawyer the lawyer may find a compromise.
ICE (the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement) branch of CBP (Customs & Border Patrol), is charged with responsibility for stopping import of known infringing items and counterfeits. There is a procedure (now online) whereby an intellectual property right owner can "register" that right with ICE and ICE will try to detain, seize and dispose of any offending item it catches through customs inspections. All incoming imports are subject to ICE inspection for this purpose. While the customs inspectors concentrate on finding illegal drugs, they also have the power to stop counterfeits and infringing items at the border and then take such action as is provided in the laws and regulations, and normally that means they hold the items, call the copyright owner to inform of the items and check for authenticity, and seize them if the copyright owner says they are not authentic. You have seen the pictures of fake ROLEX watches being crushed by a bulldozer. There are many other such seizures.
See a knowledgable intellectual property law or international trade lawyer if you face problems with illegal imports, either as the importer, the shipper, the manufacturer or the buyer.
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