New York—A rise in counterfeiting, the bane of luxurygoods makers, forced Coach Inc. to take action with its large-scale anti-counterfeiting campaign known as Operation Turnlock in May 2009.
On Friday, the handbag and accessories company announced it won one of its biggest battles. Thanks to a default judgment it received in an Illinois Federal Court, Court was awarded $257 million against individuals and businesses that operate websites selling counterfeit Coach merchandise. The judgement gave Coach the ownership of 573 Internet domains which contained the word “Coach” in them.
“In addition to the award, obtaining the domain names used by defendants in this case is a tremendous achievement. All the illegal websites operated by defendants include the word “Coach.”
This judgment is the latest victory in Coach’s campaign against counterfeiters, one designed to make business increasingly more difficult for those involved in any aspect of trafficking in counterfeit goods.
The judgment also awards Coach the ownership of 573 internet domain names, which are the websites from which defendants conducted their illegal operations.
“The magnitude of this judgment underscores the severity and illegality of counterfeiting, and sends a clear message that our courts will enforce the law,” said Todd Kahn, executive vice president, general counsel at Coach. “This judgment should serve as a warning to everyone involved in any aspect of trafficking in counterfeit goods that Coach will find you and will seek to impose the harshest penalties available against you.”
“In addition to the award, obtaining the domain names used by defendants in this case is a tremendous achievement,” added Nancy Axilrod, vice president, deputy general counsel. “All the illegal websites operated by defendants include the word “Coach” in the domain name (also known as the website address) which potentially confuses consumers into believing that they are purchasing genuine Coach merchandise.”
Coach reported that since the inception of Operation Turnlock, it has filed “filed lawsuits and obtained significant monetary awards against virtually every link in the chain of counterfeit distribution, including manufacturers, wholesalers, retail operators, those operating websites, as well as flea market operators and landlords who provide a location from which others sell counterfeit merchandise.”