Counterfeits trump charity, sometimes. Part 2
In our last post, we discussed if counterfeit products such as clothing should be given to charity when the items are seized. If you recall from the post, in 2006 a law was passed on the Federal level to stop all givings of counterfeit products to charity. Before the law, US Government agencies would give out counterfeit clothing such as sports jerseys to victims of natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina.
After the law was passed, that was no longer possible, even during a emergency. Trademark holders did not want their brand ruined by having certain people wearing it. Their words, not mine. Just like how Abercrombie and Fitch wanted the ‘The Situation’ to stop wearing their brand as the company believed he was ruining its image.
In the UK, counterfeit seizures are given to charity all the time.
Now a new bill signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo allows counterfeit clothing to be given to charity.
Text of bill:
The court would make the determination that the seized clothing products may be donated; they could be given only to non-profit corporations with an established history of service to indigent individuals. These corporations would be able to petition the court for consideration. The merchandise companies whose products have been counterfeited would have to “opt-out” within 30 days of notice if they did not want the seized clothing items donated. Otherwise after 30 days, the clothing items would be distributed by the court. These items could not be sold be either the charity or by the individuals who receive them. All distribute items would have the tags removed or marked in such a way that they would not be confused with actual products of the lawful mark owner. This bill would restrict donations to clothing items.
It is unclear if this bill would violate the current Federal laws that state counterfeit merchandise has to be destroyed and cannot be given out. 30 days is also really short for brand owners to respond.