Gucci America Inc. scored a win in court worth more than $9 million against a group of nearly 100 web sites selling knock-off merchandise.
A federal judge in Florida on Monday handed the luxury brand a default judgment on claims that 89 web sites operated out of China infringed on a number of Gucci trademarks via the import, marketing and sale of handbags and other goods allegedly passed off as genuine Gucci products.
The judge ordered all of the sites to immediately and permanently cease all of their infringing activities and ruled that all of the domain names be “immediately transferred” to Gucci’s control.
The 89 sites were also ordered to each pay $100,000 in damages to Gucci and several that used “Gucci” in their domain names were ordered to pay additional damages totaling $110,000, according to the order.
A representative of Gucci could not be reached for comment on Tuesday and the defending web sites appear to have not taken a meaningful part in the litigation.
Gucci filed the suit in late December, accusing the web sites of selling counterfeit goods as well as cybersquatting, or knowingly registering, Gucci-related domain names in hopes of realizing a profit.
While admitting that it “suffers ongoing, daily and sustained violations of its trademark rights at the hands of counterfeiters and infringers,” Gucci said it has to regularly combat the “indivisible harm” caused by counterfeiters and those that sell counterfeit goods.
“The recent explosion of counterfeiting over the Internet has created an environment that requires companies, such as Gucci, to file a large number of lawsuits, often it later turns out, against the same individuals and groups, in order to protect both consumers and itself from the ill effects of confusion and the erosion of the goodwill associated with the Gucci brand,” the company said in its complaint.
Gucci is not alone in its seemingly never-ending fight against counterfeit web sites, which are most often based in China, but market to American and European consumers.
Outerwear brand Moose Knuckles in February won a $52 million default judgment against a network of Chinese web sites allegedly selling knock-off parkas and down jackets and earlier this month, Christian Dior filed suit against another large group of sites based in China, allegedly selling a range of fake Dior merchandise.
Dior is also pursuing more than 400 sites in similar litigation in Florida.
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