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 ….Fava estimates some 130,000 Italian workers are unemployed due to reduced demand in genuine products.
Techno-savvy counterfeiters use high-end names brands in their URLs, or throughout their websites, drawing in unwary or deliberate customers, and capitalizing on the tremendous expansion of online retail. Experts say “Italian-made” fakes have proliferated exponentially in both online and offline marketplaces, making the Italian fashion industry one of the biggest victims of counterfeiting.
“Counterfeiting is threatening the whole future of the industry which for so long has been synonymous with excellence in quality and creativity,” says Moncler, a high-end clothing brand based in Milan. Since launching its new e-commerce site—store.moncler.com—last year, the retailer says it is paying more attention to counterfeiting and trademark infringement.
In a landmark legal case in November, the Moncler lost an attempt to get Italian Internet service providers, or ISPs, to block access to nearly 500 mostly foreign web sites on grounds of trademark infringement for using the word Moncler in their domain names. “It claimed that the sites, which were mainly from the U.S. and China, were used to organize large-scale sales of counterfeit goods,” Italian lawyers Antonella Barbieri and Marco Bellezza say in a report on the case.
The court said that there was not sufficient evidence that the sites were selling counterfeit goods, and it overturned its initial ruling for a blackout of the 493 web sites after an appeal by ISPs—setting an important legal precedent. “A trademark holder must produce adequate evidence of the illicit activity carried out through the site,” the report concludes. Domain names simply using a recognized trademark such as www.monclersale.com, www.monclerhotsales.com or www.moncleroutlet-store.com are insufficient proof of counterfeiting activity, the court ruled.
The courts’ ruling hasn’t dampened Moncler’s attack on the rise of counterfeiters. In October 2010, the company began using a brand certification service called Certilogo e-commerce controller. Authorized online sellers of Moncler clothing add a Certilogo verification button to their sites. Consumers click on the button to see that the e-commerce site they are visiting is an authorized retailer. Manufacturers also add a 12-digit Certilogo code to their products that customers can enter online after they receive the product to check that it is genuine. Consumers can also perform check a product’s authenticity with a phone call or via SMS (short messaging service) text message.
Moncler is optimistic about the impact the Certilogo service will have, a feeling reinforced with what they feel are good results, “Intelligence produced by the Certilogo system has led to the seizure of thousands of counterfeit items in dozens of different investigations conducted by the company over the past 12 months.”