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State Rep. Josh Shapiro, D-Montgomery, last week secured the House Judiciary Committee's unanimous approval for his bill to strengthen Pennsylvania’s trademark counterfeiting law.
Shapiro’s bill (H.B. 2133) reinstates trademark protections that were overturned last October by the state Supreme Court and clarifies the offense of trademark counterfeiting. Since the ruling in October, law enforcement agents have been limited to misdemeanor charges in trademark counterfeiting cases.
"This legislation is needed as my bill seeks to remedy a gaping hole in our law,” explained Shapiro. “My bill will help law enforcement punish trademark counterfeiters and ensure that products sold to Pennsylvanians are legitimate. This is an important tool needed to protect businesses and consumers in our state.”
According to Stuart Drobny of Stumar Investigations, a Montgomery County firm representing a number of trademark holders across the country, very little can be done to stop trademark counterfeiters until the protections are reinstated. “During the 2009 World Series we were forced to serve trademark counterfeiters with cease and desist letters -- no arrests were made as the laws left on the books are a slap on the wrist at best,” explained Drobny. Drobny testified to a meeting of the Judiciary Committee in November urging the committee to take up legislation to reinstate trademark protections.
House Bill 2133 creates criminal penalties for knowingly and with the intent to sell for the purposes of commercial advantage or financial gain, manufactures, sells or offers for sale, displays or advertises, distributes or transports any item or services bearing or indentified by a counterfeit mark.