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Thanks for contacting us. I am so sorry to hear of this. Sadly, this kind of thing happens to many small-time sellers. Sometimes the wholesale goods they obtain are counterfeit -- sometimes not. But because a manufacturer has to police the market to ensure that counterfeits don't either sully its name or harm its profits, these letters often go out to anyone who is selling the product that the manufacturer does not have advance knowledge of.
It is important in settling a matter like this to have written agreements with the manufacturer to settle the case so there can be no further legal action over these items. Happily, in many counterfeit cases, they go after the small seller in order to get to the distributor and fabricator of the counterfeit goods. But not always.
No one, except your own lawyer, can make a reasonable judgment as to the wisdom of doing what the manufacturer asks -- as only your own lawyer can evaluate the facts, circumstances and documentation wholly confidentially, protected by attorney-client privilege (obviously that can't be done on a publicly accessible legal information web site).
That lawyer could also take action against the website selling the counterfeits. If the goods were misrepresented, there could be a case in which the wholesale seller would be forced to pay for any losses. But again, this is an evaluation that should be made by one's own lawyer under attorney-client privilege.
Ultimately, small time sellers getting caught up in a thing like this don't have much legal protection if the goods are indeed counterfeit. While lack of knowledge may be a defense to criminal charges, when it comes to lawsuits involving trademark infringement
, even unintentional infringement can lead to a civil judgment that can be expensive.
While it is true that manufacturers want to stop the big fish and may be willing to leverage information and goods in exchange for settling without further cost to the small time seller, the only way to ensure that is a negotiated agreement. And in such an instance, when a big company has lawyers pressing the matter, there is much room for mistake unless one is represented by a lawyer, too. So again, I stress that even if it costs a few hundred dollars, get a lawyer involved early on, just for peace of mind that the negotiation with the manufacturer is being handled professionally and one's own interests are being properly looked after.
Absent a lawyer, it is possible, but probably much harder, to get a release from any liability agreement, which would be goal in turning over anything to the company.
I wish you speedy resolution in this matter.