May 3, 2012
Hermes wins $100 million in fake Birkin bag lawsuit
May 3, 2012
French fashion house Hermès successfully won a fake Birkin bag lawsuit on Tuesday. A federal judge in New York awarded the high-end retailer $100 million in damages to be paid by 34 websites that had sold counterfeit versions of the company's luxury goods.
Hermès's Birkin Tiny bag / Photo: Hermès
The sites, which didn't defend themselves, were found to have infringed upon 9 trademarks. In addition to fake Birkin bags, they sold fake wallets, watches, belts and jewelry.
The size of the judgment likely in part reflects the defendants' failure to adhere to earlier court orders. Not only did they infringe upon Hermès' trademarks, Bloomberg reports that they failed to follow a prior order demanding that they temporarily stop selling the goods.
The lack of adherence on the sites' part indicates that it will likely be difficult for Hermès to collect the judgment. As such, the judge ordered all related PayPal accounts to be liquidated, according to Bloomberg. She also took steps to ensure that the counterfeit sites don't spur a second fake Birkin bag lawsuit.
These steps are a bit unorthodox, but not unheard of. Though they are not party to the suit, the judge ordered Google, Bing and Yahoo to no longer provide services or links to the infringing sites. She also ordered Facebook and Twitter to remove them from search results, explains the New York Post.
It's unclear how this portion of the order will be enforced - the court arguably has no authority over the above search engines or social networking sites. In fact, this same question was raised in November when a different federal judge issued a similar order in a fake Chanel lawsuit.
It's not yet known whether the search engines complied in that case or whether they will comply here.
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