That Fake Rolex You Buy In China May Cost You More Than The Real Thing

from the after-customs-has-its-way-with-you dept

Petréa Mitchell writes in to let us know about yet another case where trademark protection is being abused. "A guy decided to bring back some obviously fake Rolexes from China as souvenirs for his family. This was probably not a bright idea in any case, but US Customs thinks it's worth fining him $55,300. The fine is allegedly based on the street value of real Rolex watches, but he points out that there's no way anyone would pay a full Rolex price for fakes as obvious as these. The government says he should be glad it's only $55,300, because if Rolex had gotten personally involved it could have been $100,000... per watch." This one raises all sorts of questions. The thing is, buying these fake Rolexes shouldn't be against the law -- selling them should be. However, the guy wasn't caught selling them. Either way, while aren't there more important things for Customs to be doing than fining people for wearing fake Rolexes?

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  1. identicon
    Jamie, 10 May 2007 @ 3:52pm

    Which law did he break?

    I'm still trying to figure out which law was broken here.

    Trademark law is designed to prevent sellers from passing off goods made by someone other than the trademark holder. For example, it prevents Bob from selling Bob's Cola as Coca Cola. The guy here is clearly not selling the watches. He is giving them to his family as presents. This in itself is not a breach of trademark.

    I'm not sure if there are any parallel importing laws in place which would have an effect here. However, based on the text in the article, it seems there aren't.

    So what exactly is this guy guilty of?

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