Tory Burch was awarded a whopping $164 million in damages against more than a hundred counterfeiting websites, WWD reports. In addition to the financial windfall -- which, experts say, the company not likely even actually collect -- the company has been ceded control of the fake-product domain names, and given power to disable future websites set up by the offenders, without having to file a new lawsuit.
The victory marks a significant step towards combatting the problem of trademark infringement in the fashion industry.
“This is an important victory for Tory and all designers,” said Steven Kolb, executive director of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. “Counterfeiting not only robs the designer of what is rightfully theirs, but also negatively impacts the American economy and the jobs associated with designers’ investments.”
According to the report, Tory Burch's chief legal officer, Robert Isen, based their claims on the legal precedent set by a case Ralph Lauren and The North Face brought against counterfeiters in China, in which they were given the right to collect from third-party payment operations that facilitated counterfeit sales (resulting in $78 million in damages). The charges were filed after they noticed several sites offering knock-off versions of the designer's wildly popular Reva ballet flats, as well as other accessories with Tory Burch logos.
The ability to control future movement by the defendants marks a sustainable new trend, but, according as Isen told WWD: “It’s a constant fight ... This is not the end of a journey for us. In some respects, it’s just the beginning.”