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United States v. Torkington

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
812 F.2d 1347 (11th Cir. 1987)


John Torkington (defendant) operated a booth at the Thunderbird Swap Shop Indoor Flea Market, at which he sold watches. In 1985, a private investigator witnessed a salesman at Torkington’s booth selling watches bearing the name “Rolex” and the Rolex crown trademark emblem. These watches cost $27 each. A deputy marshal then searched Torkington’s booth, and the marshal seized 742 watches bearing the Rolex name and emblem. Torkington was charged with trafficking and attempting to traffic in counterfeit Rolex watches. The district court dismissed both counts. The district court found that Torkington’s watches were not likely to cause direct purchasers of the watches to be confused, mistaken, or deceived about the watches’ origins. This was because the cost of Torkington’s watches was so little compared to the cost of real Rolex watches. A purchaser would be very unlikely to think that he or she was actually purchasing a Rolex watch for $27. Furthermore, the district court found that post-sale confusion of other members of the public (not purchasers) was not relevant in determining whether a good was counterfeit. The United States appealed this decision.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Kravitch, J.)

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