Burberry Awarded $100 Million in Fight Against Counterfeit Websites
A Manhattan Federal Court recently granted Burberry a $100 million award, ruling that a collusion between Chinese internet counterfeiters infringed upon the brand’s trademark
The Department of Justice (DOJ) seized over $1.5 million in proceeds from the distribution and sale of counterfeit sports apparel on illegal commercial websites. In addition to this seized capital, the DOJ seized three domain names. Counterfeit apparel plagues any brand owner and robs the purchaser of quality goods. The online policing necessary to protect a brand and its purchasers is costly and time consuming. US law enforcement has risen to the challenge to assist brand owners and authorized producers of these goods. In-house methods are not always sufficient, and counsel should take advantage of government initiatives to combat this counterfeit and online infringement.
The International Trademark Association, a group of major fashion and consumer product brands, launched an anticounterfeiting campaign to raise awareness among teens about the detrimental effects that counterfeits have on the global economy and on brand owners, as well as the potential dangers to consumers’ health.
WWD reported that the INTA’s new campaign, dubbed “Unreal,” emphasizes how social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, could be used to reach a target audience of 14- to 18-year-olds.
Because counterfeit items are readily available in many parts of the country, it is not surprising that teenagers buy them without realizing the economic and social consequences of their purchases. It is doubtful that a teenage girl has child labor or trademark infringement on her mind when she rummages through the fake Fendi wallets on Canal street in Manhattan or illegally downloads a song on the Internet.
“These are folks that are obviously the next generation of purchasers,” said INTA President Gregg Marazzo of Estee Lauder. “Even now they have significant purchasing power.” The goal of INTA’s Unreal campaign is to educate teens about the low quality and unreliability of counterfeits while also emphasizing the harmful social effects, including child labor, organized crime, and negative health impacts.
Alan Drewsen, executive director of INTA, said, “It is our hope that this information will influence their decision the next time they are approached by a site or vendor selling counterfeit goods.”
Anyone who enjoys to read in their free time knows the power a book can have. After three years of law school, followed by three months of studying for the bar exam one of the things I was looking forward to the most was being able to pick up a book and read not for the fear that I would be called on in class but for my own enjoyment. I wanted to take a minute and introduce a book, which touched on an issue that was very relatable to an aspiring fashion attorney. This book called awareness to an issue that is extremely relevant to what is going on in the fashion industry today.
Beauty to Die for, written by supermodel Kim Alexis and Mindy Starns Clark is a fiction story about models, beauty products, mystery, and counterfeit goods. One can turn on the television or pick up a newspaper and see a news story about the dangers of counterfeit goods, ranging from beauty products, to handbags, to pharmaceuticals, it is a practice that is costing companies exorbitant amounts of money and carries with it an avalanche affect of illegal activity. The book gives a clear view of the dangers of counterfeit goods, and ties in the connection to terrorism and the fight to stop the terrorists from winning.
As the fashion industry continues to fight the war against counterfeits with the help of government agencies and task forces, awareness is key. In this digital world resources are endless, and if consumers are aware of the problem we can all fight together. A great starting place is by watching CNBC’s Crime Inc: Counterfeit Goods., If the reality of it all is too much for you though, or if you’re tired of the digital world, head to your local bookstore or library and pick up an old fashioned book. You might find it entertaining, relaxing, and even eye opening. Beauty to Die For is just one of the many ways to spread awareness of the dangers of counterfeit goods, while also serving its purpose as an enjoyable read.
In January Burberry filed a complaint against a group of Chinese internet counterfeiters for use of 22 distinct types of goods bearing Burberry trademarks. Defendants, owners of websites such as yesburberryvision.com and buyburberry.com, not only failed to appear in court but they also failed to answer Burberry’s complaint resulting in an award of $100 million to Burberry as well as any money held by Paypal Inc. Burberry was also awarded a permanent injunction transfering ownership of the domain names to them allowing them to prevent others from doing business with the defendants.
Copy, Copy, Copy Cats – Moncler fights hard against an explosion of online counterfeiters
According to Gianni Fava, head of an Italian parliamentary committee of inquiry into counterfeiting and piracy, the market value of counterfeit goods being sold online is a staggering 9.2 billion dollars ($9,200,000,000). “The counterfeiting of Italian products has reached such a level that it risks crippling the entire economic system,” he says. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ….
According to WWD, a jury in Memphis, Tennessee awarded Coach Inc. a little over $5 million on Tuesday March 21, 2012. The jury awarded this sum after it found that Frederick Goodfellow, an owner of a flea market, was guilty of infringing upon the brand’s trademarks. Based upon the lawsuit filed back in 2010 in the Western District of Tennessee, Goodfellow rented space to vendors who were selling counterfeit Coach products. Coach responded by suing Goodfellow along with the offending vendors for $2 million per counterfeit mark, the maximum in statutory damages. The jury subsequently found that the defendants infringed upon 21 of Coach’s trademarks and therefore awarded Coach $240,000 per mark infringed. According to WWD, this amounted to $5.04 million.
Abercrombie and Fitch (A&F) has had its fair share of sticky lawsuits that involved racism and discrimination as well as a mouthful of criticism and accusations of misguided attempts at ethnic humor. However, it seems like A&F is off the hook this time with the latest incident of a racist descriptor attached to cargo pants that appeared to be sold by A&F.
Earlier this week, Facebook posts, Tweets, blog posts, articles and more flooded the internet with angry assertions about A&F who was selling a pair of “Ni-er Brown” cargo pants. Excuse me? Yes, this was definitely too ridiculous to be true. Fortunately for A&F, the website that was selling these racist pants was in no way affiliated with the American retailer.
Abercrombie & Fitch is one of the several brands that has a very high esteem for brand image. A & F puts a lot of work into creating a specific image for their brand and goes to great lengths to keep negative connotations away [e.g. Fitchuation]. This being said A & F has discovered the website www.abercrombie-and-fitchoutlet.com. The site is not only accused of selling counterfeit A & F pants but also of using racial language in the desciption of these pants.
A & F states that “www.abercrombie-and-fitchoutlet.com”, is in no way affiliated with Abercrombie & Fitch and in any event, we do not condone racist language. This is a counterfeit website and we have initiated legal proceedings to shut it down.”
Fashionista reports that this may have been a simple language translation error (asumptively from Chinese to English), and when they contacted a customer service representative of the site he apologized profusely. For Fashionista’s conversation with the customer service representative click here.
According to WWD, United States Customs and Border Protection officials have seized a shipment of counterfeit perfume bearing labels under the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. trademark. Authorities claim that the counterfeit perfume shipment included approximately 5,000 bottles valued at more than $344,000. According to officials, the counterfeit shipment was intercepted on January 24th at the Port of Houston and included thousands of perfume bottles bearing the Flirt and Sensuous labels owned by Estée Lauder.