British brand Burberry has initiated proceedings in the US to sue a counterfeiting network. The fashion house claims that the network is intentionally manufacturing, importing and selling counterfeit Burberry goods throughout the US.
Burberry owns several trade marks in the US including the 'Burberry' trade mark and the brand's iconic chequered logo design on perfumes and equestrian knight logo on sunglasses. Burberry claims a counterfeit network is run by defendants operating from China.
The proceedings highlight the difficulties fashion companies face in seeking to protect their intellectual property from counterfeiters. Burberry claims that the defendants have used tactics to conceal their identities as well as hide the full extent of the counterfeit network in operation. This in turn has made it difficult for Burberry to tackle the true defendants and understand the exact operations of the counterfeit network.
However, these challenges have not proven insurmountable for the British brand in the past. In 2012, a New York Federal Court awarded Burberry $100 million in damages after finding that another Chinese counterfeit network was selling at least 22 different product imitations incorporating Burberry's logo and chequered design. In the same year, French fashion house Hermes was awarded $63 million against a similar counterfeit network.
Regardless of the fact that the true identities of the defendants are unknown, Burberry is still seeking an order preventing the defendants from selling the counterfeit Burberry goods, a transfer of any profits made by the network as a result of the acts of infringement and a lump sum of $100,000 by way of damages per infringement.
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