This week’s Cyber Monday headlines included reports about a significant rise in counterfeiter websites selling fake designer products. These websites are designed to look like those of the high end designer labels they are knocking off – copying logos and product photographs directly from the websites of brand owners and pricing products to appear more like discounted or outlet authentics rather than bargain-priced fakes. Online shoppers may not notice that they are on a counterfeiter’s website unless they look closely and notice something ‘goofy’ about the URL or find odd typos or mislabeled products.
As counterfeiters look to cash in from holiday sales, they suffered a small defeat Monday in Florida at the hands of Louis Vuitton, the Paris-based fashion house that has actively protected its famous brand through infringement action victories around the world. The Eleventh Circuit upheld a default judgment for $335,000 against Joseph Mosseri, CEO of JEM Marketing for online sales of counterfeit Louis Vuitton products to customers in Florida. Louis Vuitton initially filed trademark infringement actions in 2010 against unidentified operators of the websites and then, through private investigators, traced purchases from the website to JEM Marketing. The court rejected Mosseri’s last attempt argument that Florida district courts lacked personal jurisdiction over him and held that his website solicited business everywhere, including in Florida where it sold fake products.
Louis Vuitton’s small victory may give hope to owners of designer brands who are currently commencing various legal actions against elusive operators of fake websites trying to cash in from holiday sales of knock-off designer products.