Coach is taking its most aggressive stance ever against counterfeiting.
This story first appeared in the May 20, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Like many other luxury accessories firms, Coach is battling a new age of counterfeiting, with Internet sales and plentiful street vendors selling knock-off bags, and even the purse party circuit in which regionally people host private events to sell counterfeit handbags.
So the American accessories brand today will launch Operation Turnlock, an aggressive national civil litigation and anticounterfeit campaign. Operation Turnlock targets companies and individuals involved in the distribution or sale of counterfeit product through civil litigation in state and federal courts.
While Coach has always enforced its intellectual property rights around the world, Operation Turnlock is an additional component to its trademark enforcement efforts. Todd Kahn, Coach Inc. senior vice president and general counsel, will begin a satellite media tour announcing the initiative.
“With a luxury brand like Coach, we’ve always had this issue,” said Kahn. “What’s different now is that there’s an Internet opportunity, taking it from a regional problem as opposed to a national problem.”
Operation Turnlock will closely monitor mainstream auction venues and independent Web sites to identify sellers of counterfeit Coach products and see to their removal. The company is encouraging civilians to call or e-mail when they see a knock-off Coach product by calling its anticounterfeiting hotline at 1-800-396-1807, or by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org. Coach products are sold only at Coach stores, the firm’s Web site and though department stores such Dillard’s and Macy’s.
“This is a very broad-based initiative. It’s not just distributors,” added Kahn. “Part of what we’re trying to do is educate the consuming public.”