Los Angeles – Tory Burch LLC, fashionable and popular maker of sportswear, shoes, handbags and small accessories, won a default judgment in an Illinois federal court case against several unknown persons who were selling bogus Tory Burch merchandise over the Internet. The complaint, filed in February of this year, was directed to “DOES 1 through 100” claiming the entities had infringed on Tory Burch’s trademarks by offering fake goods using the Tory Burch famous name and trademarked logo on several of its websites.
On April 8, U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer ruled in favor of plaintiff Tory Burch, requiring the unnamed defendants to pay 20 million dollars in damages for the unauthorized use of trademarks and trying to pass the phony Tory Burch merchandise as authentic. The Judge also granted a permanent injunction against the infringers after they failed to acknowledge the allegations in the complaint. The infringers were held liable for “trademark infringement, counterfeiting, false designation of origin, cyber piracy and breaking the Illinois Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act,” which is directed to those who try to benefit by advertising or selling goods or services using misleading tactics or false representations.
Numerous consumers have already been deceived into believing that the fake goods were real by the infringer’s use of the “Tory Burch” name in the body of hundreds of different URLs, and by using the logo on mock websites. Tory Burch, started in 2003 and based in New York City, feels its reputation has been tainted due to the vast purchases of knockoffs already sold, although the domain names have since been transferred to Tory Burch. Additionally, any money held in accounts by defendants was frozen and PayPal funds due to the infringers were also ordered for transfer within 10 days to Tory Burch, as payment toward the judgment.
It is believed the imitation items were manufactured in China as well as several other foreign countries. However, the culprits went to great lengths to conceal their actual identities and the full extent of the entire operation. So effective was the scheme, that the true identities may not ever be known.
Tony Burch had previously won in a similar lawsuit last year and was awarded $2 million against online retailers who also did not respond to the complaint. Similarly, it was awarded $164 million in a 2011 ruling against other trademark infringers selling bogus goods on the Internet.