Diesel Sues Counterfeit Websites

Diesel is fighting the good fight against cybersquatters and has filed suit against nine defendants, claiming they are selling counterfeit products bearing Diesel’s name and trademarks through a network of 83 different web sites, where the domain names use the Diesel name.

Diesel's website

Diesel’s website

Each defendant faces allegations of trademark infringement, trademark dilution, trademark counterfeiting, violations of the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, among others. Diesel claims that 14 of its trademarks are being infringed upon by the defendants.

The sites use domain names such as dieseljeansoutletuk.com, dieseljeansclassic.net, as well as buydieseljeansonline.net. And, all of the sites are selling merchandise that is not authentic Diesel products. The denim brand used OpSec Security to figure out who is behind these 83 websites. The security company was able to discover find nine “infringing families”, where the largest one controls at least 45 of the sites.

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One of the Counterfeit Sites

Diesel is seeking injunctive relief, asking that the sites be taken down and prevented from continuing selling the counterfeit products. The plaintiffs are also seeking treble damages for all losses suffered and all profits the defendants earned, as well as attorney’s fees. Alternatively, Diesel is asking for a total of $270 million in damages and $28 million for the 14 trademarks infringed.

Diesel’s founder, Renzo Rosso, stated, “the unlawful use of Diesel trademarks to sell counterfeit goods through various retail Web sites around the world injures our customers who think they are buying a Diesel-quality product. In addition, these Web sites damage the brand’s reputation and goodwill, hindering the distinctiveness of authentic Diesel products’ trademark quality and craftsmanship.”

Diesel is just one of many brands stepping up its efforts to combat counterfeit items being sold over the internet. Ralph Lauren, Tory Burch, Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., Coach, and Gucci have filed suit and won against similar cybersquatting websites. In 2011, Tory Burch was awarded $164 million against 232 websites selling counterfeit products.

Diesel itself has created a significant dent in the counterfeit market when Chinese customs seized 70,000 counterfeit Diesel products and European customs seized 35,000 products. The brand has also instituted an online brand protection program which has shut down 120 infringing sites.

It seems that brands are moving full force towards ending the counterfeit market as it has a significant effect on the brand and its value in the marketplace. If consumers are able to purchase counterfeit items so easily, the brand begins to look cheap because the ubiquity of poor quality products devalues the brand which affects the brand’s power in the marketplace. Consumers, especially luxury consumers, want top quality products that are unique and give off an air of luxury and grandeur. If someone else is able to purchase a knockoff of something a consumer spent good money on, that consumer will be less likely to purchase from the brand in the future, because they are not getting what they paid for.

Based on precedent cases, it seems that the case will be favorable to Diesel. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

source: “Diesel Sues Cybersquatters,” Women’s Wear Daily

Beeta J.

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