What Constitutes a Counterfeit?

Rolex has recently filed suit against laCalifornienne for allegedly dealing in fake watches. LaCalifornienne has been adding non-Rolex sanctioned dials, crystals, and other accessories to pre-owned Rolex® watches and reselling them as genuine Rolex® watches.  Rolex considers any watch that includes a non-Rolex part to be a counterfeit.

Rolex filed a similar case against a jeweler that was “enhancing” Rolex® watches with gemstones and other decorative adornments.  The Fifth Circuit sided with Rolex in that case.

In a similar case involving the modification of circuit breakers, the Ninth Circuit held “that “when an original mark is attached to a [reconditioned] product in such a way as to deceive the public [as to the source of the product], the product itself becomes a ‘counterfeit’ just as it would if an imitation of the trademark were attached.”

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