Is the end of counterfeit designer goods approaching?
Earlier this month Hermes won $100 million in a counterfeit case; then Uggs won a whopping $686 million in a similar case. And today, Burberry is the latest brand to get their just desserts (and a huge lump of money): The brand was just awarded $100 million in a case against a network of Chinese Internet counterfeiters, WWD is reporting.
The presiding judge told the trade the defendants, who sold at least 22 different types of goods bearing Burberry trademarks, not only failed to show up in court--they failed to even answer the complaint, which was filed in January. After several months waiting for a response, the judge finally awarded Burberry $100 million along with any money held by payment service provider, PayPal Inc--continuing the trend of awarding damages held by third-party accounts in counterfeit cases like these. This is an important development because, previously, it was next to impossible to collect damages from websites overseas.
The judge also awarded Burberry a permanent injunction against the sites and ordered that their domain names be transferred to Burberry. In addition, third-party hosts such as Google, Facebook and Twitter will be held accountable for associating with the infringing sites, and will no longer be able to provide services or links to such sites.
The Burberry case is not a landmark ruling: The judgement is almost identical to the one found in favor of Hermes. Which means counterfeiters better beware, because increasingly it seems judges are ruling against them--and for huge sums of money too. Their days may be numbered.