By  on March 12, 2007

NEW YORK — Don't mess with Diane.

That's the message Diane von Furstenberg wants counterfeiters of her namesake brand to hear loud and clear. The designer has implemented a program at her company, Diane von Furstenberg Studio, to protect her designs and namesake brand worldwide.

"I want to say, 'Beware,'" von Furstenberg said, her voice firm, in an exclusive interview. "There is no money, there is nothing that will stop me from going after you."

Von Furstenberg feels that for her brand, the counterfeiting problem is still in its early stages but she wants to stem it before it could potentially damage her brand name. And as president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, von Furstenberg has also made it a mission to promote the fight against counterfeits among her peers and secure ways to protect original designs through legislation.

About eight months ago, von Furstenberg hired lawyer Harley Lewin of New York-based law firm Greenberg Traurig, to put together a three-year strategy. Together, they have started to crack down on vendors that sell allegedly counterfeit Diane von Furstenberg merchandise, mostly through online retail channels, such as, and

"Sometime last year, we started to get letters and e-mails from customers telling us that they bought something on eBay that was a counterfeit," von Furstenberg recalled, which triggered her to start investigating the issue. "I started to go on eBay and saw all these weird things. I called Abigail [Klem, DVF's director of licensing and business development] and said, 'Let's do some research and let's get some help.'"

Klem added: "We also started to notice it with new designs. As soon as the runway came out, within weeks, we'd start seeing brand new designs, so we knew immediately just by looking at eBay that they were counterfeits."

According to an Ebay spokeswoman, "Ebay has worked closely with Diane von Furstenberg as president of the CFDA to ensure brand owners in the fashion industry are aware of our Verified Rights Owners Program.

"Ebay is not a retailer, we are a marketplace where individual buyers and sellers come together to engage in trade. Ebay is dedicated to providing a safe marketplace and part of that means partnering with brand owners," she said.

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