This has been a really good week for designers fighting piracy and trademark infringement. As we mentioned, Hermes won $100 million and permanent injunctions against fake domains in its suit against online counterfeiters of Birkin and Kelly bags. While, I am hesitant to compare Hermes with Ugg Australia for many reasons, it turns out the ever-popular boot brand also won big this week.
Deckers Outdoor Corp., Uggs' parent company, was awarded $686 million in its lawsuit against over 3,000 Chinese websites selling counterfeit Uggs. Like the Hermes case, much of the funds at issue were seized from the defendants' PayPal accounts, a practice that was previously off-limits. However, under Operation In Our Sites, an initiative of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations and the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, the Department of Justice may recover funds that defendants collected via PayPal. Money transferred from PayPal accounts to bank accounts in China, for instance, may also be collected. This is important because otherwise, the money would be nearly impossible to recover as the defendants are almost always based overseas.
There's more. Deckers was also awarded permanent injunctions against the defendants' imposter websites. Now, if you go to sparkleuggsboots.com or any of the other 3000+ sites, you are directed to a site with a consumer notice, which states that the site was previously operated by parties that were not affiliated with Ugg. It also says: "Plaintiff has charged the operators of the above domain names in a Complaint with violations related to trademark infringement and counterfeiting." This is a huge win for Deckers and for the fight against design piracy and trademark infringement!