A jury in Memphis awarded Coach Inc. just over $5 million Tuesday, after it found the owner of a flea market guilty of infringing on the brand’s trademarks.
This story first appeared in the March 22, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Filed in 2010 in the Western District of Tennessee, the lawsuit claimed that flea market owner Frederick Goodfellow rented space to vendors who sold counterfeit Coach bags.
Coach sued Goodfellow and the offending vendors for the maximum in statutory damages, amounting to $2 million per counterfeit mark. The jury found that the defendants infringed 21 of Coach’s marks, and awarded the New York-based brand $240,000 per mark infringed. This amounted to $5.04 million.
“Coach is exceedingly pleased with the jury’s verdict in Tennessee against the Third Street Flea Market and its operator,” said Coach’s deputy general counsel Nancy Axilrod. “The Third Street Flea Market case illustrates Coach’s commitment to enforcing its intellectual property rights. This case should serve as a warning to all those who traffic in counterfeit Coach goods, or who tolerate such activity on their premises, that: we will find you; we will sue you; and we will win.”
For Coach, the suit is just another win for the brand, which launched an aggressive offensive against counterfeiting nearly four years ago. Called Operation Turnlock, the zero-tolerance program targets companies and individuals involved in the distribution or sale of counterfeit goods in state and federal courts.
This week’s judgment marks one of Coach’s largest settlements, according to the accessories brand, although it could not be learned if Coach will actually be able to collect the damages awarded.