For designer Tory Burch, a lawsuit has netted her a $164 million judgment against counterfeiters and fake websites touting her name and trademark.
The lawsuit was filed against more than a hundred different counterfeit websites that were selling fake Tory Burch branded products, including Burch's popular Reva ballet flats and other items that carried the Tory Burch logo, reports NBC New York.
Burch brought the lawsuit after legal precedent was set down by Ralph Lauren and The North Face which allowed the two companies to file suit and collect damages against third party payment operations that facilitated the counterfeit sales, reports NBC New York.
The two design companies managed to get $78 million in damages. Burch's company has so far collected money from third party payment processor PayPal, though the company has only been able to get a six-figure amount, reports New York Magazine.
While the $164 million verdict may seem like a huge sum, in reality, the verdict is more symbolic than monetary, reports New York Magazine. For one, part of the verdict means that the cybersquatting websites must be turned over to Burch's company and that Burch will have the right to shut down the websites, and the same privy to do so for websites that may be created in the future that infringe on her trademark.
What does this mean for companies? Well, it seems to create a great precedent for companies whose trademarks may be infringed upon by cybersquatters everywhere, especially design houses whose trademarks and designs are often copied by counterfeiters.
The ability to win a verdict against cybersquatters and gain the right to take down the offending websites can be a boon for companies who are interested in protecting their image and who don't want their trademark to be diluted.
And, with this second case that has allowed for collecting damages against third party payment processors like PayPal, the decision in the Tory Burch lawsuit can mean that damages can be recovered even if the offending parties are overseas and difficult to track, like the 41 cybersquatters in Burch's case, who were Chinese in origin, reports New York Magazine.
- Tory Burch Won $164 Million in a Lawsuit Against Counterfeiters (New York Magazine)
- Internet Cybersquatting: Definition and Remedies (FindLaw)
- 11 Indicted in Fake Louis Vuitton, Prada Bust (FindLaw's Blotter)
- Hells Angels File Trademark Suit Against Designer Alexander McQueen (FindLaw's Legally Weird)