Luxury brands seize thousands of fake items in counterfeit crackdown


Major luxury brands including Burberry, Cartier and Louis Vuitton have seized thousands of items from suspected unauthorized traders as part of a crackdown on counterfeit goods.

The fashion houses, which also include Hermès, Versace, Tory Burch and Michael Kors, took possession of nearly 3,000 counterfeit products in New York last month.

The defendants, described only as John Does, Jane Does and XYZ Companies, “did business” in two locations, including “back rooms” and “a basement”, as well as two vans, according to court documents.

The brands, which claimed trademark infringement and counterfeiting, then asked the judge for a preliminary injunction order, to prevent traders from tampering with the merchandise, which was granted on April 5.

The judge concluded that “the public interest would be best served” by issuing the order against the defendants and then authorizing the destruction of the property.

“Seized counterfeits may be destroyed after 10 days notice [to the authorities],” he said.

The luxury industry has been waging a war against counterfeiters for years. They use sophisticated technology to verify and track products.

According to the Harvard Business Review, they have also lobbied governments to expand the powers of law enforcement agencies to seize and destroy counterfeit products.

The OECD estimates that the volume of international trade in counterfeit and pirated goods was $464bn (£355bn) in 2019, or 2.5% of global trade, with luxury goods accounting for a significant share of this sum.

The defendants did not show up for a hearing after receiving notice on March 29.

The brands and their attorneys did not respond to requests for comment. The defendants could not be reached for comment.

The judge also told the defendants that they could not use dozens of marks belonging to luxury brands.

These included: clothing, handbags, wristwatches, sunglasses or Burberry cosmetics; the bracelets, brooches, cufflinks or money clips from the jeweler Cartier; and the famous Birkin bag design by Hermès, among others.

In 2020, a Hermès bag set the world record for the most expensive handbag at £230,000. The Hermès Diamond Himalaya Birkin 25 is made from the skin of the Niloticus crocodile found in Africa and is covered in 18k white gold and diamonds.

The fashion houses said they seized 348 counterfeit Burberry items, 102 counterfeit Cartier items, 172 counterfeit Hermès items, 2,080 counterfeit Louis Vuitton items, nine counterfeit Polo Ralph Lauren items, 15 counterfeit Michael Kors items, 10 counterfeit North Face items, 17 counterfeit Tory Burch items. items and 196 counterfeit Versace items.

LVMH, the owner of Louis Vuitton, reportedly employs dozens of lawyers and spends millions each year to pursue legal action against rogue salespeople.

Prior to the injunction, the judge added that “the actions of the defendants have caused and will continue to cause immediate and irreparable harm, loss and harm before a full trial can take place” and that cash compensation n was not adequate relief for luxury brands. for “prosecution of counterfeiting and trademark infringement”.


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