Intellectual Property CrimesMost copyright and trademark infringements are litigated through the civil remedies codified in the Copyright Act and the Lanham Act respectively. The more egregious cases, and those involving prominent victims, are often criminally prosecuted under a number of federal statutes. Most criminal copyright prosecutions today target software and video piracy and trafficking in counterfeit media. The rapid advance of electronic media distribution has compelled Congress to apply new statutory proscriptions to address ever-changing forms of copyrighted work, providing prosecutors with plenty of tools to criminalize willful copyright infringements. These include the Copyright Felony Act (1992), the No Electronic Theft Act (1997), the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (1998), and the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act (2005). Nevertheless, most cases today are prosecuted under 17 U.S.C. § 506, which allows for conviction without proof that an unauthorized distribution was done for financial gain. The Anti-Counterfeiting Amendments Act of 2004 criminalizes the trafficking in counterfeit labels on movies and software. False packaging and trafficking in counterfeit trademarked commercial goods are prohibited by the Trademark Counterfeiting Act of 1984.
We have a solid record of success in defending investigations and prosecutions for intellectual property crimes. We vigorously attack the government’s theory that a copied work or product was distributed with willful intent or that the putative victim suffered substantial financial injury that could not be adequately remedied through civil litigation. Because of the complexity of modern distribution systems—in which distributors often operate under a maze of sub-contracts to manufacture and distribute products—an aggressive investigation of the contracting chain can provide ample evidence to derail criminal prosecutions.