LONDON — Canada Goose, a manufacturer of extreme-weather outerwear, said it has won a landmark counterfeit and trademark case in the District Court of Stockholm, Sweden.
The court found five Swedish nationals jointly and severally guilty of “felony fraud, trademark infringement, and customs offenses.” Two of the defendants have received prison sentences, while Canada Goose has been awarded damages of 701,000 Swedish kronor, or $105,879 at current exchange, Canada Goose said in a statement this week.
The defendants used aliases and false Swedish business names, operated the business from Thailand, and sold thousands of counterfeit Canada Goose jackets and other goods between 2009 and 2012 in Sweden.
The Canada Goose statement said the fake goods were purchased in Thailand and later repackaged in Sweden. Their fabric was of “poor quality and detailing,” and they used raccoon dog fur instead of coyote around the jacket hoods. The main culprit was arrested in Bangkok, Thailand in May, and was later extradited to Sweden for the trial.
In its judgment, the District Court of Stockholm said counterfeiting is a significant problem, and estimated that 10 percent of all goods in the European Union are counterfeit. It said the practice has a harmful impact on the economy, including causing unemployment.
“This is a clear victory in protecting intellectual property and consumers, and it sends a strong message that counterfeiters will not be tolerated,” said Kevin Spreekmeester, vice president global marketing, Canada Goose Inc., and cochair of the Canadian Intellectual Property Council (CIPC).
“Not only do these fake products impact our business and our brand reputation, but more importantly, they put consumers at risk for potential health issues,” he added. Previous analysis of imitation Canada Goose jackets have shown they include feather mulch and other fillers which are often coated in germs. Canada Goose said that because the jackets don’t use real down or fur, they put the user at risk of frostbite or freezing.
To educate and protect consumers, Canada Goose said it has invested in the fight against counterfeit goods, putting holograms into the seams of its jackets and accessories, listing the names of authorized retailers, and working with law enforcement to stop the sales of bogus products.