Gucci wins $9M counterfeit award

Gucci has been awarded $9 million dollars in its latest counterfeit case but will likely see just a fraction of that court award.

Gucci America won its $9M award in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida. It prevailed against 89 websites that wrongfully used the trademarked Gucci name in their domain names. The counterfeit sites had product and marketing images, logos and other official intellectual property in their content as well.

According to the judgment, each website must pay Gucci $100,000, or $110,000 if the Gucci mark is in the domain name. With the 89 websites found to be liable, the amount totals $9 million dollars. Unfortunately for Gucci, this payment will likely never happen.

The websites were primarily registered to addresses in China. None of the owners appeared in person in court, so it was a default judgment against what were likely fictitious business operators.

The other reason Gucci will likely not see much or any of the judgment is counterfeit sites are often run by seasoned criminals who have caught on to the collection techniques the US government and ICE use. They keep very minimal balances in their bank accounts so that even if ICE can catch up with them and seize assets for the sale of counterfeit goods, there is a very nominal amount in any traceable bank account at that time.

The real victory for Gucci is that the judgment turns over ownership of the domain names to the company so it can regain control over its intellectual property.


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