Tiffany wins $2.2m damages against online counterfeiters

Tiffany & Co entranceJewelry company Tiffany & Co has won $2.2m in damages and a permanent injunction against 78 websites selling counterfeit versions of its products.

The US District Court for the Southern District of Florida issued a final default judgment against the website operators last week, ordering take-downs for a series of sites using domain names such as,,,

"Trademark counterfeiting severely damages brand owners and consumers alike," commented Michael Kowalski, Tiffany's chief executive.

"The way to stop it is to take aggressive action against the counterfeiters and make them pay, civilly," he added. "That's what happened in this case which should send a message to anyone trying to sell counterfeit Tiffany merchandise."

Tiffany filed suit against wholesale club Costco earlier this year for allegedly selling diamond engagement rings that infringed its trademarks. It also filed a suit against eBay in 2004 to try to make the online retailer take infringing products off its website, but failed to secure a judgment in its favour in 2008 after an appeals court ruled it is the manufacturer's responsibility to monitor goods sold on online auction sites. A bid to bring the case to the US Supreme Court was blocked in 2010.

Meanwhile, the company's annual report notes that costs associated with pursuing groups that sell trademark-infringing products continue to rise.

"In recent years, there has been an increase in the availability of counterfeit goods, predominantly silver jewelry, in various markets by street vendors and small retailers and on the Internet," it noted.

The company said it has responded to Internet counterfeiting by engaging investigators and counsel to monitor the Internet and taking various actions to stop infringing activity, including "sending cease and desist letters, initiating civil proceedings and participating in joint actions and anti-counterfeiting programs with other like-minded third party rights holders."

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