NEW YORK — Rolex Watch U.S.A. Inc. was awarded $10.3 million in damages relating to a trademark infringement case against an Internet retailer doing business under various Web addresses.
In a Sept. 16 filing, Manhattan Federal Court Judge Richard C. Casey ruled against defendant Jimmy Lan, who was accused of selling imitation watches under various monikers including the Swiss Replica Watch, The Swiss Replica Co., swiss-replica.com, fakerolex.net and rolexreplica.us.
A copy of the judgment was not available at press time. Neither Lan nor his attorney could not be reached for comment.
Rolex first filed suit against Lan in December 2003. According to an amended complaint filed in February 2004, Lan sold watches that were “identical with, or substantially indistinguishable from” legitimate Rolex products.
Rolex sought redress on five counts in the complaint, including trademark counterfeiting and unfair competition. The company also sought possession of the domain names and monetary damages under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act.
The ruling marks another victory for the law firm Gibney, Anthony & Flaherty, which earlier this month scored a win for LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in its case against 29 Chinatown retailers selling counterfeit Louis Vuitton and Fendi handbags.
According to the judge’s ruling in that case, each retailer was ordered to pay LVMH $16 million in statutory damages — an award that, in theory, entitles the luxury goods giant to a total of $464 million. In addition to the damages, Judge Thomas P. Griesa ordered all imitation bags and accessories to be handed over to the company.
The original complaint, filed March 2, accused the tenants of selling counterfeit Louis Vuitton and Fendi merchandise. The tenants, said the suit, continued to sell the items despite several raids and the issuance of temporary restraining orders and seizure orders.
LVMH has been stepping up its anticounterfeiting efforts, investing an estimated 12 million euros, or $13.6 million, last year.
Other luxury watch manufacturers have found recent success in their battles against online retailers selling counterfeit goods.
In August, Cartier won two such battles against online retailers selling imitation Cartier, Panerai and Piaget watches. In both cases, the luxury goods designer and manufacturer accused two online retailers of modifying authentic Cartier watches and selling them as upscale models. The lawsuits resulted in injunctions against the retailers.According to the complaints, the online retailers obtained authentic Cartier watches, then added diamonds in a pattern that imitated the diamond placement of higher-end models. It was also alleged that stainless steel metal bands were polished to give the appearance of Cartier’s white gold models.
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