Canadian jacket maker sues Chinese counterfeiters

Arctic jacket maker Canada Goose has filed a lawsuit in Chicago, US, against a group of Chinese businesses for allegedly selling counterfeits of its brand online.

According to court documents, the fashion firm claims “an interrelated group of counterfeiters” based in China had been infringing the Canada Goose trademark and selling fake versions of its clothing online through hundreds of unauthorised websites, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The jackets of the brand, with the trademarked logo patch, feature a coyote-fur trim and are insulated with premium down. They retail for more than $1,000.

The company said the alleged network of counterfeiters were selling the knockoffs at reduced prices and that the infringing activity was having an impact on the business, noting that the fake jackets were likely to be unsuitable for cold weather.

Canada Goose believed it would be “virtually impossible” to identify the defendants but the lawsuit claimed the network was believed to be interrelated as the websites shared “unique identifiers”.

“Like many world-leading brands, our success has led to our products being copied by counterfeiters,” Alex Thomson, a Canada Goose spokesman, told the Chicago Tribune. “We take the protection of our brand and its trademarks seriously, and we will continue to take the necessary steps to protect consumers from the dangers of counterfeit goods.”

This is not the first time the Toronto-based company has taken alleged counterfeiters to court. In 2012, Canada Goose won a court case in Sweden where five Swedish men were found guilty of infringing the company’s trademarks by repackaging and selling fake jackets bought in Thailand. Canada Goose received €80,000 in damages.

According to the company’s website, analysis of counterfeit jackets in the past has found the fakes don’t use the sanitised Canadian down of the authentic products but instead often use feather mulch or other fillers that have been found to be coated in bacteria, fungus or mildew, which pose a health risk. And instead of the coyote-fur trim, counterfeiters have been found to use raccoon, dog or other unknown animal hair.

The website warns: “Even more frightening is that for a person in cold climate, an authentic Canada Goose parka could mean the difference between life and death. Without real down and fur, the chance of frostbite or freezing becomes a real possibility.”

In a bid to tackle the issue of counterfeits, Canada Goose introduced a unique hologram label in autumn last year. The hologram, which features a polar bear image and elements that can be seen from different angles, will be sewn into every Canada Goose product as proof of authenticity.

Meanwhile, in Plymouth in the UK, it is understood an investigation has been launched at luxury designer fashion store Flannels after several customers claimed they had bought fake Moncler-branded items from the shop.

According to The Herald, at least three Flannels customers checked the authenticity of their £600 Moncler jackets by entering the items’ authentication codes on the Italian brand’s website. They received emails saying the clothes were “not authentic Moncler items”.

While a Flannels spokesman said they could not comment on individual cases, they added it was the store’s policy to fully investigate any issues.

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