MILAN — The Salvatore Ferragamo Group can add a notch in its designer leather belt as it has scored yet another victory in its fight against counterfeiting.
The New York Southern District Court has awarded the Florence-based luxury company compensation of $60 million, delivering an injunction against 60 unidentified holders of illegal online profiles that were selling counterfeit Ferragamo products. The court transferred to Ferragamo around 150 domain names that were infringing upon the brand’s rights. The amount is identified as exemplary since the defendants are hard to locate and thus the compensation is unlikely to ever be collected, as in most counterfeit cases of this type.
“We are extremely pleased with the decision of the New York court, which also comprises exemplary damages, the highest ever awarded for this type of violation,” said Ferruccio Ferragamo, chairman and newly minted interim chief executive officer of the family-owned group, which is publicly listed in Milan. “The Internet is the prime channel for traffickers of counterfeit goods and it is therefore the focus of our monitoring and control efforts. In recent years our group has implemented a series of anticounterfeiting measures, both on and offline, to protect our customers and the value of our brand.”
In 2017, these measures allowed Ferragamo to have over 35,000 items and illegal profiles removed from major social networks, as well as the interception, blocking and deletion of nearly 69,000 counterfeit products from online auctions. The group constantly monitors offline markets through different court and out-of-court activities, focusing its efforts on China. Last year, about 62,000 counterfeit products were seized in China, out of the more than 268,000 counterfeit products seized around the world.
“We are very satisfied with the results of the steps we have taken to protect our registered brands and our trademark rights on the Internet,” observed Ferragamo. “Rest assured that we will continue to fight counterfeiting with unfailing determination.”
In August 2016, federal authorities seized a shipment of around 7,800 pairs of counterfeit Ferragamo shoes with an estimated value of $4.3 million at the Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex arriving from China.
Ferragamo said that in 2015 it intercepted and blocked 91,000 online advertisements for counterfeit products. In addition, 140 domain names and illegal web sites, mainly managed by Chinese individuals, were recovered or canceled.
Ferragamo also introduced a key law enforcement tool, starting with the pre-fall 2014 collection, by inserting microchips into its women’s shoes, or a radio frequency identification tag, guaranteeing product authenticity, as well as the possibility to track products. The brand extended the use of the microchip to men’s shoes with the cruise 2015 collection, while this has been inserted in women’s small leather goods, luggage and bags with the fall 2015 range. Most recently it has extended the RFID chip to the brand’s ties and foulards.
A further success in Ferragamo’s measures against fakes was the seizure and destruction of over 12,500 counterfeit products. Chinese customs authorities confiscated more than 12,400 fake Ferragamo goods leaving the country and seized over 34,000 counterfeit products in 2015. The estimated value of the goods exceeds $17 million. Belts accounted for 60 percent of the seized products.
Over the years, Ferragamo has won around 10 civil court cases against respondents involved in illegal activities, and in 2013, it succeeded in shutting 400 illicit web sites.
In 2014, a New York Southern District Court judge awarded the luxury brand $4 million in damages in a civil lawsuit against 15 defendants who were using a combined total of 95 fake domain names to sell counterfeit Ferragamo goods.