24 July 2019CopyrightSaman Javed

Benefit and Tommy Hilfiger file identical lawsuits against counterfeiters

Tommy Hilfiger and Benefit Cosmetics have filed identical lawsuits against suspected online counterfeiters.

The complaints, both filed yesterday July 23 at the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois are against unnamed operators of online websites, which the brands say are most likely based in China.

According to the filings, the suspected counterfeiters sell fake versions of both Tommy Hilfiger and Benefit Cosmetics bearing the brands’ trademarks.

They said the counterfeiters create online stores “by the dozens” and design them to appear to be selling genuine Tommy Hilfiger and Benefit Cosmetics products to “unknowing consumers”.

The brands said the online stores share “unique identifiers” such as design elements, which establishes a “logical relationship between them”.

Additionally, the filings said the suspects “go to great lengths to conceal both their identities and the full scope of the counterfeiting operation”, such as registering the domain names of the websites using privacy services that conceal contact information.

They said these tactics make it “virtually impossible” for the brands to learn of the counterfeiters’ true identities.

Tommy Hilfiger and Benefit Cosmetics said the operation of these stores causes their brands irreparable damage through consumer confusion, dilution and tarnishment of their trademarks.

The filings said the counterfeiters are an “interrelated group of counterfeiters working in active concert to knowingly and willfully manufacture, distribute, import and sell” counterfeit products.

“Counterfeiters also typically ship products in small quantities via international mail to minimise detection by US Customs and Border Protection,” the brands said.

Additionally, they design of the online stores to make them appear to be authorised online retailers or outlet stores, the brands added.

“Many of the internet stores look sophisticated and accept payment in US dollars via credit cards, Alipay, Western Union, Amazon Pay, and/or PayPal,” the lawsuits said.

Additionally, they said the counterfeiters often register new domain names under new aliases once they receive notice of a lawsuit and move website hosting to rogue servers located outside the US.

“Rogue servers are notorious for ignoring take-down demands sent by brand owners,” the filings said.

The brands asked the court for an injunction and monetary damages.

This story was first published on TBO.

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