Product Counterfeiting Legislation in the United States: A Review and Assessment of Characteristics, Remedies, and Penalties

Wilson, Jeremy M., Ph.D, Sullivan, Brandon A., Ph.D, Johnson, Travis, Fenoff, Roy, Ph.D, Kammel, Kari | January 1, 2016

Product counterfeiting crimes have detrimental effects on consumers, brand owners, public health, the economy, and even national security. Over time, as product counterfeiting crimes and the response to them have evolved, U.S. federal legislation has developed and state legislation has followed suit, but with considerable variation across the states. The purpose of this article is to place product counterfeiting in the context of intellectual property rights, provide a historical review of relevant federal legislation, and systematically examine the extent to which state laws differ in terms of characteristics, remedies, and penalties. Additionally, we calculate indices of civil and criminal protections that illustrate the overall strength of each state’s legislative framework. Collectively, this assessment provides a solid foundation for understanding the development of product counterfeiting legislation and serves as a basis for advancing research, policy, and practice.