10 September 2018Trademarks

Calvin Klein seeks to crack down on e-commerce counterfeiters

American fashion brand Calvin Klein has filed a lawsuit against online counterfeiters who have allegedly been selling infringing underwear, handbags, and sunglasses.

Calvin Klein filed its complaint at the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, on Thursday, September 6.

The fashion brand explained that it filed the suit to combat online counterfeiters who seek to trade on its reputation and goodwill. Calvin Klein added that it is “forced” to take legal action to protect unknowing consumers from purchasing counterfeit products.

According to the suit, all of Calvin Klein’s products “prominently display” its famous and internationally-recognised ‘Calvin Klein’ mark (registered under number 1,993,879 for watches and jewellery in class 14, and under 1,418,226 for sunglasses in class 9).

Word and figurative versions of Calvin Klein’s abbreviated mark, ‘CK’, are also registered in a number of classes.

Calvin Klein claimed that the defendants create internet stores “by the hundreds”. They appear to be selling genuine Calvin Klein products, while instead selling counterfeit goods to unknowing customers, the complaint said.

Counterfeit underwear, watches, handbags, and sunglasses are allegedly being sold to Illinois residents via the online platforms.

The fashion brand claimed that the online stores use unique identifiers, including design elements and Calvin Klein trademarks, to establish a connection between the platform and the legitimate brand.

Calvin Klein said that the defendants reside in China, or other foreign jurisdictions, and interact with US consumers through e-commerce platforms. The counterfeiters then ship the products to US customers in small packages to prevent detection at the border, the complaint alleged.

Calvin Klein’s trademarks are famous and valuable assets that are used on products associated with prestige and quality, according to the suit, and the fashion brand has been irreparably damaged by the consumer confusion and trademark dilution caused by the infringing activities.

The fashion brand asked the court to restrain the defendants from imitating its trademarks and passing off non-genuine products as authentic.

Calvin Klein also requested a transfer of the domain names linked with the defendants, as well as triple damages and all profits gained by the counterfeiters as a result of the infringing activities.

Alternatively, the fashion brand requested statutory damages of $2 million for each and every wilful infringement of the ‘Calvin Klein’ marks.

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