Corporations routinely invest large sums of money on investigations of counterfeit goods in order to protect their trademarks in the marketplace. But all of these efforts and money could be wasted unless the investigators they employ acquire evidence with scrupulous adherence to ‘chain of custody’ procedures.
Chain of custody refers to the process by which a piece of evidence is linked to its origin, thereby protecting and ensuring the integrity of the evidence. Adherence to proper chain of custody procedures ensures that the evidence collected will withstand subsequent challenges to its authenticity in court. These procedures are particularly important when the evidence consists of fungible goods. The case of Lorillard Tobacco Company v. Barah Deli and Grocery is a case in point.