Coach Wins $257 Million in Internet Counterfeit Case, Seizes 573 Fake Domain Names

Courts are really starting to crack down on internet counterfeiting, awarding large judgments to brands who have fallen victim to the increasingly common practice. Now Coach just scored one of the biggest settlements yet.
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Courts are really starting to crack down on internet counterfeiting, awarding large judgments to brands who have fallen victim to the increasingly common practice. Now Coach just scored one of the biggest settlements yet.
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Courts are really starting to crack down on internet counterfeiting, awarding large judgments to brands who have fallen victim to the increasingly common practice. Now Coach just scored one of the biggest settlements yet.

A federal court judge in Illinois awarded $257 million to Coach, almost double the amount Tory Burch, Hermes and Burberry have won, according to WWD.

In addition to monetary damages, courts are allowing brands to seize and shut down domain names that infringe on their copyrights. In Coach's case, the brand was able to shutter a whopping 573 websites. This is where brands can make the most impact, rather than in large monetary settlements. (Counterfeiters often use actual pictures from a brand's website--as was the case with Coach--so it's often hard to know if a site you're buying from is the real deal or not, making it doubly important for brands to be able to go after these fake sites.)

Coach even has an ongoing (and very James Bond-esque sounding) initiative called "Operation Turnlock," in which it is aggressively going after counterfeiters, many of whom operate online. And they're going to keep fighting, urging other brands to do the same. “Shutting down the specific domain names themselves is only part of these cases,” lawyer Joseph Gioconda told WWD. “The other aspects of the case are the PayPal asset seizure, and the ongoing jurisdiction the court now has over new domains and Web sites created by the same defendants in the future. Brand owners definitely need to act very aggressively in this area, as there is a plague of counterfeit Web sites.”

We've said it before and we'll say it again: Don't buy fakes!