Anticounterfeiting Consumer Protection Act Law and Legal Definition

Anticounterfeiting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) is a federal statute signed into law on July 3, 1996. It discourages counterfeiting of trademarks and copyrighted merchandise such as computer programs, phonorecords, and motion pictures. The law imposes criminal liability for trafficking in counterfeit goods and services, provides for the seizure of counterfeit goods, and enhanced statutory civil penalties.

This Act amends the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) to include criminal infringement of a copyright, trafficking in goods or services bearing counterfeit marks and trafficking in counterfeit labels for phonorecords, computer programs, computer program documentation or packaging and copies of motion pictures or other audiovisual works. It also permits law enforcement officials to seize, not only the counterfeit goods, but also the property, equipment and storage facilities associated with the criminal enterprise. The act also allows law enforcement officers can also now seize vehicles used to transport counterfeit merchandise.

The Act also amends the Lanham Act. It expands the authority of Customs officials in a variety of ways to combat counterfeiting activities. The United States Customs Service may impose civil fines on any person who directs, assists financially or otherwise aids or abets the importation of counterfeit goods. Furthermore, Customs is required to destroy all merchandise, bearing a counterfeit trademark, which it seizes, unless the trademark owner consents to some other disposition and the merchandise is not a health or safety threat. The Act extends Customs Service disclosure requirements to shipments by aircraft, and requires Customs to issue regulations so that importers must disclose the identity of any trademarks appearing on imported goods.