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5 October 2016Trademarks

Christian Dior wages war with online counterfeiters

Luxury brand Christian Dior has targeted a number of online counterfeiters in a trademark infringement lawsuit.

In a filing at the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division on September 28, Dior claimed that the defendants had sold counterfeit clothes and fashion accessories featuring the Dior trademarks.

“The defendants create the defendant internet stores by the hundreds and design them to appear to be selling genuine Dior products, while actually selling counterfeit Dior products to unknowing consumers,” said the filing.

Dior’s trademarks include ‘Christian Dior’, ‘Dior’, ‘CD’ and its Cannage design of diamond shapes overlaid on squares.

The brand alleged that the defendants, an “interrelated group of counterfeiters”, are based in China and other foreign jurisdictions.

According to the company, the defendants have attempted to avoid liability by going to great lengths to conceal their identities and the full scope and interworking of their counterfeiting operation.

The brand is seeking injunctive relief, transfer of the infringing domain names and an order that online marketplaces disable and cease providing services used by the defendants.

It is also seeking an account of all profits made by the defendants in their unlawful acts, and statutory damages for wilful counterfeiting for each use of the Dior trademarks ($2 million per infringement, tripled) and $100,000 for each domain name.

Christian Dior isn’t the first brand to take up arms against counterfeiters this year. Last week, WIPR  reported that Calvin Klein sued a group of counterfeiters in the same district court.

Additionally, on September 29, WIPR  reported that Chanel sued an unnamed individual selling counterfeit products with the company’s trademarks online.

Joseph Gioconda, attorney at Gioconda Law Group in New York, said: “Christian Dior is one of many companies who are using the American legal system to attempt to combat the scourge of online counterfeiters.”

He added that in a bid to evade detection and impede brand owners’ ability to monitor unlawful conduct, the “counterfeiters frequently and rapidly circulate the infringing websites among various domain names”.

Gioconda warned that “no single litigation has the desired effect of stopping the counterfeiting of a brand”, but that over time “the brand owners’ goal is that the aggregate effect of these cases will impose a heavy cost on the counterfeiters, which may help to deter them from further infringement”.

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