In a recent blog post, we discussed how the federal government was taking steps to protect New Jersey businesses from others stealing their intellectual property rights. In that case, the government shut down several websites that had been selling counterfeit goods. Now, a business association facing a similar situation has begun protecting its intellectual property rights on its own — through business litigation.
In this case, an association of wedding dress designers and dressmakers has filed a lawsuit in New Jersey against a group of websites selling counterfeit dresses made by a foreign company. The association, which includes a designer from New Jersey, has accused 16 websites of advertising poorly reproduced dresses based on their designs. Furthermore, the suit alleges that these websites sold millions of dollars worth of the counterfeit dresses in 2011. Specifically, the association alleges unfair competition and trademark counterfeiting and infringement.
As a result of these charges, the association is asking the New Jersey court to permanently shut the websites down so that the counterfeit dresses cannot be sold anymore. In addition, the association is asking the court to order that all profits made on these dresses be turned over to them. If that is not possible, the association wants $250,000 for each domain name used to sell the dresses and $2 million for each trademark that was violated.
The websites named in the lawsuit have not responded to the allegations.
Any commercial litigation can be important for a business, but protecting intellectual property rights is especially key. Without aggressive protection of these rights, businesses like those in the association can lose a lot money very quickly.
Source: The Record, “NJ wedding dress makers sue to stop counterfeits,” Hugh R. Morley, Dec. 5, 2012