Counterfeit Investigation – From Tradeshow to TRO
The client suspected that counterfeiters were selling knock-offs of its products at an industry tradeshow, but did not know the counterfeiters’ identity or full modus operandi.
Vaudra attended the tradeshow, walked the floor and met with companies, looking for branded merchandise. Several companies were found offering products of interest, and details were compiled on available quantities, pricing, and future inventories. After the tradeshow ended, we discussed these companies’ offerings with the client and helped to prioritize those for further investigation.
Over the coming weeks (and in an undercover capacity), we built rapport with the sales representatives, continued dialog, collected evidence on available inventory, as well as secured evidential samples for the client’s authentication.
When the client verified that the product was counterfeit, we were poised to arrange a meeting with the company’s sales representative to inspect the stock lot in their warehouse along with incoming inventory that was due to arrive in the coming weeks (via sea freight). Based on the background on the entity and facts of the case, the client opted to proceed with civil action and TRO (temporary restraining order) against this entity in order to seize the counterfeit goods, related documentation & electronic records tied to any past/present/future sales or supply of the brand’s products.
Coordinating timing with the client, local counsel, and off-duty law enforcement, we arranged for the inspection at the company’s warehouse. Once it was confirmed that the counterfeit goods were at the location, we gave the signal for counsel to arrive and serve the company owner with the TRO.
The counterfeit goods were seized, and valuable information was learned related to the company’s suppliers of counterfeit products. Using our contacts with U.S. Customs & Border Patrol, an incoming container of suspected counterfeit product was detained for review and authentication by the client.