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28 April 2017

Trump Administration's first Special 301 Report slams Canada and Mexico for inadequate border enforcement against counterfeits

The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) has published the 2017 Special 301 Report, the first released under the Trump administration. While Pakistan and Spain are complimented for “positive momentum” behind their IP regimes, the report knocks a number of jurisdictions – including neighbours Canada and Mexico – for what it deems to be ineffective border enforcement against fakes.

07 February 2017

Alternative strategies for fighting counterfeits online

Faced with the continually expanding sale of counterfeit products online, more than ever, brand owners need to adapt and explore new and different ways to disrupt counterfeiters and make it harder and more expensive for them to succeed.

07 February 2017

New trends in online counterfeiting require updated enforcement policies

It is old news that counterfeiting is a vast, successful and global business which increasingly operates online. As the Office of the US Trade Representative’s 2016 Special 301 Report noted, online sales of counterfeit goods have the potential to surpass the volume of sales through traditional channels such as street vendors and other physical markets. What is new is the more recent significant shift in the practice of online counterfeiters.

16 January 2017

Fitbit sues reseller for selling ‘counterfeits’; defendant claims ‘harassment’

Exercise tracking technology company Fitbit has filed a lawsuit against a New Jersey business which sells discontinued and refurbished products to consumers. In the suit, Fitbit claims the defendant sold ‘counterfeit’ and ‘non-genuine’ versions of Fitbit products – a claim staunchly denied, with a representative telling World Trademark Review that Fitbit is engaging in “litigious scare tactics” in response to a lawsuit it had filed a month previously.

10 November 2016

MLB won’t donate Cleveland Indians gear to developing countries due to brand concerns

Merchandise produced in anticipation of a Cleveland Indians victory in the US baseball World Series will be destroyed rather than donated to communities in poorer countries, in a break with what has become standard procedure for US sports associations. While Major League Baseball (MLB) seem to have cited trademark and reputation issues as the reason, the new direction could negatively impact on the MLB brand and those of its teams.

20 October 2016

Who is going to pay Alexander Wang $90 million?

The US District Court for the Southern District of New York has entered a default judgment in favour of Alexander Wang Inc and AW Licensing LLC – the entity that owns all of Alexander Wang’s IP rights – against 45 defendants, many of whose identities are unknown, for wilful counterfeiting and cybersquatting, awarding the plaintiffs a total of $90.8 million.

21 July 2016

Birkenstock leaves Amazon "to counterfeiters, fake suppliers and unauthorised sellers" as IP concern mounts

German footwear maker Birkenstock has decided to quit the Amazon marketplace in protest at what it perceives to be a lax approach to counterfeiting on the part of the online retailer.

18 May 2016

Business insurance is best when insurer understands its contractual obligations

Brent Duke and e-cigarette vendor, 21 Century Smoking Inc were sued by DR Distributors LLC and others for trademark counterfeiting and infringement and unfair competition and false designation of origin under both the common law of unfair competition and the Illinois Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

18 April 2016

US customs seizures rocket to 10-year high as infringers’ tactics evolve

US Customs and Border Protection and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations has revealed that the total number of seized IP infringing products increased by nearly 25% in fiscal year 2015, with the value of detained goods breaking through the $1 billion barrier.

01 March 2016

Follow the money – chasing international counterfeiters through the US legal system

US trademark law contains robust remedies for brand owners looking to bring offshore infringers to justice. Although the process requires diligence, it is possible to use it to identify counterfeiters and even freeze and ultimately recover funds held in foreign accounts

21 October 2015

CBP expands information-sharing procedures to help detect counterfeit merchandise

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has implemented a final rule expanding its information-sharing procedures with importers and trademark owners with respect to merchandise suspected of bearing counterfeit trademarks. Under the final rule, CBP may disclose confidential information protected by the Trade Secrets Act to trademark owners whose marks are recorded with CBP in order to assist with an authenticity determination.

25 September 2015

Major win for Tiffany as court finds that 'Tiffany' is not generic term for ring setting

In a significant win for luxury jeweller Tiffany, the US District Court for the Southern District of New York has held that TIFFANY is a protectable mark and not merely a generic term for a type of ring setting. The court found that Costco had infringed the jeweller’s mark by selling diamond rings described as 'Tiffany' rings, and that its behaviour rose to the level of “wanton dishonesty” warranting punitive damages under state law.

15 May 2015

Etsy stock dive highlights role investors play in fight against counterfeiting

An analyst report into online marketplace Etsy has issued a stark warning about the large proportion of potentially infringing items being sold on the site, causing the company’s stock to plummet. While sending a clear signal to trademark counsel that they need to ensure the platform is in their policing plans, the positive takeaway is the hesitancy investors exhibit when faced with sites that sell allegedly infringing items.

24 November 2014

Fifth Circuit gives WWE the green light to 'smackdown' counterfeiters

In World Wrestling Entertainment Inc v Unidentified Parties, which involved the sale of unauthorised WWE products, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has vacated a district court decision refusing to issue ex parte seizure and temporary restraining orders. The Fifth Circuit found that the specific identities of the unnamed defendants were not as crucial to the evaluation of the case as the district court thought.

13 October 2014

Gucci and Tiffany dealt blow in case against Chinese banks

Gucci’s and Tiffany’s attempts to freeze assets located in Chinese banks have hit a roadblock. While the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld a court’s authority to freeze assets under the Lanham Act - further cementing one of the most successful tools that brands have against counterfeiting - it made clear that a district court may enforce an injunction against a non-party only where it has personal jurisdiction over that non-party.