Christian Dior takes counterfeiters to court

Luxury brand Christian Dior is the latest in a line of designer brands fighting counterfeiters in court.

Calvin Klein, Chanel and Alexander Wang have also recently lodged court action against producers illegally copying their brands.

In the Christian Dior case, the designer brand has brought legal action against a number of online counterfeiters, claiming they sold fake clothes and accessories with the Dior trademarks including Christian Dior, Dior, and CD, as well as the brand's statement squares and diamonds Cannage design.

The brand claimed that hundreds of internet sites had been set up and designed to look like they sold genuine Dior products "while actually selling counterfeit Dior products to unknowing consumers."

Dior alleged the "interrelated group of counterfeiters," largely based in China, had actively concealed their identities and activities.

Through the trademark infringement lawsuit, the brand is seeking extensive action against the counterfeiters, including injunctive relief to stop the websites trading, as well as an order that other online marketplaces cease relations with the counterfeiters. Dior is also seeking around $6m in statutory damages for trademark infringement and an additional $100,000 for each domain name the counterfeiters used to sell the fake goods.

A number of companies are now turning to the legal system "to attempt to combat the scourge of online counterfeiters," Joseph Gioconda, attorney at Gioconda Law Group in New York, told WIPR in an interview.

"No single litigation has the desired effect of stopping the counterfeiting of a brand [but over time] the brand owners' goal is that the aggregate effect of these cases will impose a heavy cost on the counterfeiters, which may help to deter them from further infringement."

Many luxury brands are beginning to take a stronger stance against counterfeiters following the ease of setting up websites to sell fakes making them more easily available. Indeed, it's not just one-off domains that are getting hit but also the large e-commerce sites Amazon and Alibaba, both of which have come in for criticism for their alleged "lacklustre" approach towards counterfeiters.

In the world of fashion, designers are also making a more public stand against the illicit trade and to help promote public awareness.

For instance, a number of brands have made reference to counterfeiting as part of their designs, including Gucci, which has emblazoned one of its bags with the word 'REAL' in graffiti design above its logo, and Dolce & Gabbana have introduced new brands 'Dolce & Gabbaba' and 'Docce & Gabbinett' to poke fun at counterfeiters, while Alexander Wang has printed copyright infringement notes on Adidas shirts.

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