Counterfeit KOs; The Biggest Fashion Victories In The Fight Against Fakes
Today, after a grueling four-and-a-half-year lawsuit,
Versace scored a big win against counterfeiters who were hawking knockoffs of their designer wares on eBay. This is just the latest in a string of slam dunks for fashion brands, as judges have begun cracking down on companies making and selling fake versions of their designs, and we’ve rounded up the ones that we’re sure had them popping the champagne — once they finally made it out of court, that is.
Read up on the legal battles below, and for some less successful cases, see
Louis Vuitton’s attempt to wage war on The Hangover II and Christian Louboutin’s red sole battle with Zara:
1.LVMH vs. eBay
June 2008: This decision was one that kickstarted the fight against online counterfeiting, since LVMH won
a groundbreaking €38.6 million, or $60.9 million, in the Paris courtroom, prompting one intellectual property lawyer to remark to the Times that she had "never seen such an amount of damages in French law" in 23 years of practice. Even though they aren't the ones making the fakes, the court found that eBay wasn't doing enough to prevent the sale of knockoffs on their website -- something that, unfortunately, a quick search will tell you is still a problem today.
Photo via NZGMW / Shutterstock.com
2.Hermès' Birkin bust
April 2012: The French fashion house took down a network of websites with URLs like HermesBags-Outlet.net, HermesBirkin-Bags.org and HermesOutletStore.Com to the tune of
$100 million. According to the ruling, the online retailers sold, "at least nine distinct types of goods, each bearing numerous counterfeits of the Hermès trademarks and designs," and the court ordered their PayPal accounts and other assets be drained immediately. If you're buying your Birkin online, you've gotta know you're supporting some shady business.
Photo via TonyV3112 / Shutterstock.com
3.Landmark win #1 for Versace
May 2010: Versace won a
record-breaking $20 million in a trademark case. The lawsuit stretched over seven years and involved more than 70 stores in Arizona and South California, with CEO Gian Giacomo Ferraris calling it "a testament to the commitment of the company to combat counterfeiting of its trademarks and to preserve the integrity of its brand name throughout the world" -- a fact which they proved again in today's victory.
4.Tory Burch's coup against online cybersquatters
June 2012: The designer
was awarded $146 million in a lawsuit that involved 41 cybersquatters and 232 domain names. But before you start tallying up how many pairs of their signature flats a sum like that would cover, we should add the caveat that they didn't see most of it recouped. The company's chief legal officer told WWD that their “motivation was really not financial,” but rather to set a firm precedent (and did they ever).
5.The big Louboutin border bust
August 2012: 20,457 pairs of counterfeit Christian Louboutin pumps were seized by customs agents in Los Angeles. The red-soled pumps (which have been the subject of
plenty of litigation themselves) would have been worth an estimated $18 million if they made it to the underground market. That's a whole lotta heels!
6.Versace ixnays the eBay copycats
May 2013: Versace's
big win today against Griffith Suisse Luxury Group, who were selling fake goods out of Australia and the Philippines. The company is now barred from using Versace's trademarks, and indefinitely banned from selling on eBay at all.