Federal Judge Leonard Sand in New York ruled Monday that Burlington Coat Factory knowingly violated Italian fashion company Fendi’s trademarks, and awarded the luxury brand treble damages.
According to Law360 (subscription req’d), the precise amount of damages is yet-to-be determined, but it seems the discount retailer has been allegedly shilling counterfeit Fendi goods from unauthorised retailers for decades.
The luxury company, known for its signature entwined Fs logo, sued Burlington in 1986 for purchasing counterfeit products. In 1987, Burlington agreed to an injunction barring them from selling any Fendi products without permission from Fendi (SCOTUS Justice Sotomayor worked on the injunction).
But, apparently the company continued to stock the fake fashion goods. Fendi sent a cease and desist letter in 2004 and sued for trademark infringement in 2006. In 2007, a district court ruled that Burlington was in civil contempt of the 1987 injunction.
Then last May, a Manhattan district court Judge Michael Dolinger recommended that the company pay more than $3 million—$2.5 million in lost profits and about $500,000 in legal fees—for breaching the 22-year-old injunction.
The ruling is a win for fashion companies, but a relative tiny one compared to the dozens of fashion labels whose wares are immediately ripped off by discount retailers and inexpensive chain stores. How many of those companies can really afford to shell out hundreds of thousands in legal fees to bring justice?
Read more at Law360 (subscription req’d)
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