NEW YORK — The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York awarded Alexander Wang Inc. $90 million in damages in a trademark counterfeiting and cybersquatting case, Alexander Wang, et al. v. Wang Bao D/B/A Alexanderwangroccobag.com, et al.
As part of the ruling, 459 domain names were locked and transferred to Alexander Wang and the defendants’ assets were frozen.
It is the first counterfeit case that Wang has pursued and won, according to a spokesman. It is unlikely the designer will ever be able to recover the damages since the owners of the domain names are almost impossible to trace.
“The court system regularly awards very large amounts for the symbolic significance, as a means of deterring other individuals and parties. In other words, Alexander Wang is unlikely to receive $90 million,” the spokesman said.
The company declined further comment.
The case involved at least 45 defendants operating 459 web sites that sold fake Alexander Wang handbags, footwear, apparel and accessories. The sites shipping directly to consumers in the U.S. and other regions and many of the domain names included the Alexander Wang name, for example, alexanderwangshoessale.com, cheapalexanderwangbags.com. The illegal sites were designed to emulate legitimate fashion retailers and the design of Wang’s own web site. They accepted payment in U.S. dollars through PayPal and major credit cards.
In a statement, Dennis Wang, chief principal officer of Alexander Wang Inc., said, “The company takes its intellectual property rights very seriously. Protecting our brand requires maintaining constant vigilance on a global scale as well as taking proactive measures such as sending cease and desist orders directly to domestic and foreign counterfeiters as well as contacting web site servers that host counterfeit sites. The creativity and originality of our designs are the foundation upon which the company is based.
“Since the launch of the brand in 2005, we have collectively devoted an incalculable amount of resources — time, money, and hard work — toward creating a trademark that is distinctive and uniquely our own. I am very pleased that the court recognized this and decided in our favor,” he added.
The judgment was ruled under the Trademark Counterfeiting Act. The judge found that the defendants had purposely concealed their identities and failed to comply with previous injunctions.
Alexander Wang was represented by Harley Lewin and James Donoian of the firm McCarter & English.