In a strongly-worded lawsuit against online counterfeit sellers, Dior has filed an official trademark infringement complaint. An array of “interrelated” websites peddling counterfeit Dior bags, apparel, and jewelry are at the heart oof the case, with Dior alleging that the defendants “unlawfully used its registered trademarks in connection with the advertisement, distribution, and sale of infringing and counterfeiting Dior products, which caused confusion among customers and irreparably harmed Christian Dior.”
Moreover, the Paris-based brand alleges that the “defendants facilitate sales by designing the defendant Internet stores so that they appear to unknowing consumers to be authorized online retailers, outlet stores or wholesalers.” In addition to asking the court to immediately and permanently bar the defendants from using its trademarks and from partaking in the sale of counterfeit goods, Dior is seeking up $2 million for “each counterfeit trademark used and product sold,” in accordance with the Lanham Act (the federal law governing trademark rights and infringement), and $100,000 for each cybersquatted domain.
As such, defendants will not show up to any of the court proceedings, thus the court will ultimately award Dior a victory by way of a default judgment. Dior will walk away with ownership of any of the defendants’ domain names that use its trademarks, as law enforcement is able to seize them, but will almost certainly not see much – if any – of the monetary damages it is seeking.
Given the improbability of any significant amount of monetary damages, the monetary award that is part of online trademark counterfeiting rulings is often more symbolic than anything else. It is worth noting, however, that as a result of “Operation In Our Sites,” a U.S. government initiative, the Department of Justice may recover funds that defendants collected via PayPal.