Designer Tory Burch, whose signature TT gold monogram graces the shoes and handbags of well-dressed women everywhere, filed an infringement lawsuit in New York on Friday against Bluebell Accessories, Inc. Burch claims the New York wholesaler sold counterfeit products displaying Burch’s monogram via BluebellWholesale.com. According to several media reports, Burch first investigated Bluebell back in November 2012, hiring an investigator to buy knock-off jewelry and sending a cease and desist letter to Bluebell owners Jessica Min and Sung Ki Min. Bluebell apparently withheld details of its business, including sale documentation and supplier lists, and Burch is now suing for an undisclosed amount, claiming trademark counterfeiting, false designation of origin and false descriptions, trademark and copyright infringement, trademark dilution, unfair competition, and injury to business reputation.
This isn’t the first time Burch has gone after counterfeiters for trademark infringement and counterfeiting. In 2011, Burch won $164 million in a suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against cybersquatters selling fake Tory Burch merchandise. The offending domain names included DiscountToryBurch.com, CheapToryBurchs.com, and Tory-Burch.us.
That amount was said to be the largest damages award granted to a fashion company in a counterfeiting action. The court didn’t stop there. The cybersquatters’ domain names were shut down and transferred to Burch, who was also granted the right to shut down any other websites the defendants create in the future without having file a subsequent lawsuit. Defendants were ordered to turn over the funds in their PayPal accounts to Burch as partial payment of damages. The court also enjoined Internet Service Providers, domain name registrars and third party selling platforms from providing services to any defendant for use in connection with infringement of Burch’s rights.
A powerhouse in the fashion world, Burch started her designer career creating tunics in her kitchen in 2004. In 2006, the Burch brand exploded with the launch of her most recognizable product, the $195 “Reva” ballet flats. Burch skyrocketed even higher in 2010 when Oprah added the Reva flats to her list of Favorite Things. In January 2013, Forbes magazine estimated Burch’s net worth at $1.0 billion dollars.
Click here to view the signature TT gold monogram.