Luxury fashion house (and makers of absurd short films starring David Beckham) Belstaff has just brought down 676 websites selling counterfeit goods at once. Yes, 676 IN ONE MAGNIFICENT VICTORY FOR FASHION.
The win came off the back of a major IP offensive by the brand, which included using nifty software which trawls the internet for counterfeit product and tracks down details of the vendors. They discovered approximately 3,000 websites selling rip off goods, mostly Belstaff’s iconic leather jackets, which were several seasons old (the horror!). Around 800 websites were managed by one individual in China.
Belstaff started proceedings in New York, seeking damages and the closure of the offending websites. The Court moved fast, handing the websites over to Belstaff, and giving it damages of a cool $US42million. Not a bad day in Court.
While you may not have the resources of Belstaff, here are some tips for protecting your IP:
- Register trade marks for all the important things like your name and logos in the countries in which you trade (or want to).
- For all your really fabulous items you know will become instant classics, register the designs and make sure you get them certified. This gives you rights against people trying to copy them.
- Lodge a Notice of Objection with Australian Customs, setting out all of your registered trade marks. If Customs sees goods which it believes breach your trade marks, it will seize the goods and notify you, giving you the opportunity to prove they are counterfeit before they hit the streets.
- Google yourself regularly to see who is selling your product. You know your retailers, so you should be able to work out who is selling knock offs. Like Belstaff did, you can use IT nerds to monitor this for you.