Why Doesn't "The People's Court" Know What a Counterfeit Trademark Is?

peoplescourtNowadays, you cannot turn on the television or read a newpaper without seeing some story about how people are arrested for selling counterfeits and how bad counterfeits are. For some reason, Judge Marilyn Milian, Harvey Levin (who’s Twitter profile simply states “I’m a lawyer”) and the other producers at “The People’s Court” havent come around to recognizing the illegality of trademark counterfeiting.
On the September 27th episode of “The People’s Court”, Judge Milian presided over a simple breach of contract case. The plaintiff placed an order for some t-shirts to be manufactored and the defendant failed to deliver such goods. The fun started when the plaintiff, a “fashion designer,” showed the court the t-shirts she ordered. As seen to the right, the t-shirts are clearly counterfeits of the iconic Chanel trademark. The plaintiff all but admitted to it while Judge Milian asked “does Chanel have a problem with you using their copyrights?” Judge Milian found for the plaintiff for breach of contract and awarded damages against the defendant.
The Lanham Act defines a counterfeit as “a spurious designation that is identical with, or substantially indistinguishable from” a registered trademark. Also, both civil and criminal liability can be assessed against those caught counterfeiting. A contract cannot be enforced if the underlining activity is criminal. For example, if Walter White sells you bad meth, you cannot sue him in court.
So, Judge Milian enforced an illegal contract over counterfeit goods. Oh “The People’s Court” for shame on you. While we all know it is television, it is quite embarrassing that you do not know the law. Here’s hoping that “The People’ s Court” and other court shows will be more responsible in the future.