Gucci America Inc. on Wednesday was awarded $144.2 million in damages by a federal district court in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., against several organizations engaged in an online counterfeiting scheme.
The federal court also ordered the immediate surrender to Gucci of 155 domain names used in the counterfeiting operation. According to Gucci, the targeted domain names “employed such tactics as copying campaign advertisements, product images and descriptions from official Web sites, as well as using ‘Gucci’ in the domain name,” all designed to “deceive online consumers.”
The district court order also granted Gucci a permanent injunction barring the defendants from manufacturing or selling any more of the counterfeit goods, from using the Gucci marks in connection with unauthorized sale of goods, as well as falsely representing themselves as being connected with the luxury brand, among other protections.
The award of $144.2 million includes the accrual of interest from the date of the action, according to U.S. District Court Judge William P. Dimitrouleas.
The lawsuit was filed by Gucci in May, alleging trademark counterfeiting and cybersquatting. Other claims in the lawsuit include false designation of origin and common law unfair competition. Wednesday’s award was based on a default judgment against the defendants, and it’s unlikely Gucci will collect a significant amount of the damages awarded.
Patrizio di Marco, Gucci’s president and chief executive officer, said, “We are extremely pleased that the court clearly understood the dangers to consumers posed by online counterfeiting organizations and has sent a strong message that counterfeiters can expect to receive severe sanctions when caught.”
Di Marco said the company is fully committed to maintaining and protecting its intellectual property rights throughout the world, and that it “will continue to take the initiative in combating counterfeiting wherever and whenever it is found in order to ensure its customers are not deceived and that its unique heritage be strongly preserved and fully respected.”
The lawsuit said the defendants — partnerships or unincorporated associations doing business as bestoreol.com, boutiqueguccipascher.com and designerguccibags.com, as well as between 1-1,000 entities whose names are unknown — offered for sale goods bearing alleged counterfeit or similarly confusing imitations of Gucci’s trademarks through various fully interactive Web sites operating under multiple domain names. Those trademarks include the Gucci name, its green-red-green stripe design and the various forms of interlocking Gs.
According to the complaint, the defendants offered at least 21 of Gucci’s registered trademarks on a minimum of 32 different types of items, including handbags, clutch bags, tote bags, suitcases, wallets, key cases, neckties, scarves and footwear.
The legal document said the counterfeit goods “are of a quality substantially different than that of Gucci’s genuine goods,” and were offered for sale with the knowledge and intent that the “goods will be mistaken for the genuine high-quality goods offered for sale by Gucci, despite defendants’ knowledge that they were without authority to use the Gucci marks.” It went on to say that the “net effect of defendants’ actions will cause confusion of consumers” who believe the counterfeit goods originate from or are associated with Gucci.
The luxury brand said it was harmed because the defendants’ actions deprived Gucci of its right to fairly compete for space within search engine results, caused overall degradation of the value of the goodwill associated with the Gucci marks and increased the company’s overall cost to market its goods and educate consumers about its brand via the Internet.
Gucci said the dot-com defendants each have registered various infringing domain names, and that the Gucci marks have never been assigned or licensed to be used on any of the Web sites operating under the infringing domain names.
The company sought a permanent injunction and profits and damages resulting from the alleged infringing activities, which included statutory damages from each defendant in the amount of $2 million per each counterfeit trademark use and product sold.
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye
Did you know: @carlychaikin of "Mr. Robot" has been painting for about a decade? The actress, who plays Darlene on the show, is a self-taught artist who lists Salvador Dalí and Chuck Close as some of her idols. Chaikin told WWD that painting is a form of meditation for her — A much-needed one given the intensity of "Mr. Robot." See a piece Chaikin is working on at WWD.com (📷: @jilliansollazzo) #wwdeye