A New York federal court has granted Diesel a motion for a judgement against 83 Web sites that were cybersquatting and selling counterfeit products appearing to bear the Diesel label, and awarded the company $2 million in damages.
Diesel said it sees its determination to fight illegal trade as a new, crucial milestone in its brand protection strategy.
“This is another great battle we won, but it’s not the end of the war,” said Diesel founder Renzo Rosso. “The online market is an exciting opportunity for all brands,” he said, noting that the company was one of the first fashion brands to recognize it when it launched diesel.com e-commerce in 1996.
“But it also brings huge trade risks,” Rosso continued. “It takes continuous efforts to counteract the attacks we are receiving, and each day there is a new challenge. But we owe this to our brand and our consumers.”
Diesel created a dedicated task force in 2014 to protect consumers from the unlawful use of its trademarks, operating in online and offline markets. The Breganze, Italy-based denim and sportswear brand filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in July 2014, charging nine defendants with selling counterfeit Diesel products through a network of 83 different Web sites, all using the Diesel brand in their domain names without authorization.
“We will keep fighting to protect our brand by implementing state-of the art technologies, and we hope that this victory will set an example for other brands,” Rosso said. “We cannot have any tolerance for fraudsters, on and offline.”
Diesel, a 40-year-old, $1 billion fashion brand, is part of Rosso’s $1.6 billion OTB, which also owns Maison Margiela, Marni, Brave Kid, Viktor & Rolf and Staff International.
In its ruling, the court permanently enjoined the defendants from further infringing activities, including the use of any Diesel trademark in connection with the unauthorized advertising and sale of goods, ordered defendants to transfer to Diesel or cancel the domain names of the infringing Web sites, and ordered defendants to deliver to Diesel all counterfeit goods in their possession for destruction.
The National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, last year led the launch of a synchronized global initiative to take down sites illegally selling counterfeit merchandise. The center teamed with fashion companies and law enforcement authorities from 27 countries in an online counterfeit operation that shut down 37,479 Web sites.