AMIRI is taking on a blatant counterfeit-selling operation that it claims is using its name in an attempt to dupe consumers into believing that a wide array of “poor quality” wares are the real thing. In a newly-filed complaint, AMIRI claims that the AmiriOutlet is offering up dozens of different styles that directly mirror its signature rock ‘n’ roll-inspired wares under the AMIRI name and causing damage to its brand that “increases every day.” As of the time of filing, the Los Angeles-based fashion brand says that it had not been able to identify the true identity of the individual(s) behind the AmiriOutlet site, and instead, has filed suit against PEG Tech Inc., which it is accusing of “knowingly allowing its services to be used to pedal counterfeit fashion merchandise across the globe,” including by way of AmiriOutlet.com.
According to the complaint that it filed in a federal court in California on Friday, Atelier Luxury Group – which is the “designer, manufacturer, marketer and seller” of the celebrity-favored AMIRI brand – claims that in May, it “discovered that a criminal enterprise called AmiriOutlet was manufacturing, marketing and selling counterfeit AMIRI merchandise.” The unaffiliated entity was falsely holding itself out on its website as an “Official Discount Store” for the AMIRI brand with “100% Original Products” of AMIRI. On the site, which prominently displays “the registered AMIRI trademark, using a mark that is identical – in name, font, style, color, and appearance – to the mark used and registered by [AMIRI],” the operators of AmiriOutlet “purport to sell over 100 authentic AMIRI pieces at steeply-discounted prices,” including garments that are stitch-for-stitch copies of existing AMIRI wares, and that bear the AMIRI name and branded tags.
Beyond that, AMIRI – which says that it “does not have an AMIRI outlet store, nor has it ever authorized any person or business to operate such a store” – alleges that in some instances, China-based AmiriOutlet is not only “selling merchandise, like counterfeit AMIRI Bandana Shorts,” but is using images that “were copied directly from [AMIRI’s] own website” in furtherance of its aim “to make the consumer believe they are buying a legitimate AMIRI product.”
AmiriOutlet “represents that its [trademark-bearing] products are legitimate AMIRI apparel” when they are not, and thus, its behavior is an example of “textbook counterfeiting,” counsel for AMIRI argues. With this in mind, PEG Tech – an internet service provider that “allows AmiriOutlet to use its servers and other cloud-based Internet services to make its website accessible to the public” – should have “shut down AmiriOutlet right away,” and yet, it did not such thing, according to AMIRI.
Upon discovering AmiriOutlet, AMIRI – whose fans range from Kanye West and Jay-Z to Madonna and Kendall Jenner – alleges that it notified PEG Tech and requested that it take down the counterfeit-selling site immediately. However, AMIRI claims that San Jose, California-based PEG Tech did not shut down the AmiriOutlet site, and instead, “did nothing.” In fact, AMIRI contends that PEG Tech “has not even responded to [it]” and that “the AmiriOutlet site is still up and running, and causing damage to [AMIRI] that increases every day.” As of the time of publication, the contents of the AmiriOutlet website had been removed.
In addition to confusing consumers about “the source or sponsorship of, or the site’s association or affiliation with, the legitimate AMIRI brand,” AMIRI claims that in connection with their unauthorized use of AMIRI’s trademarks, the operators of AmiriOutlet are “diminish[ing] the apparent exclusivity of genuine AMIRI pieces and dilut[ing] the brand.” And more than that, the “inferior quality” of AmiriOutlet’s offerings “will tarnish the reputation that [AMIRI] has worked very hard to develop, and on which [AMIRI] has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in promotions and advertising.”
Given that AMIRI does not know the identities of the individuals running the AmiriOutlet website, which “continues to deliberately infringe, dilute and misappropriate its valuable trademarks and designs,” the brand has focused its attention for now on PEG Tech for its role in the counterfeiting scheme. In addition to failing to deactivate the counterfeit selling site “or take any corrective action at all, despite having actual knowledge of the illegal counterfeiting,” AMIRI claims that PEG Tech is “benefitting financially by rendering web hosting services to AmiriOutlet,” and potentially other counterfeit-offering websites created by the same operators, thereby, giving rise to liability.
Setting out claims of contributory trademark counterfeiting, infringement, and dilution, and contributory false designation or origin and unfair competition, AMIRI alleges that PEG Tech is “knowingly contributing to and supporting AmiriOutlet’s [activities] by hosting the AmiriOutlet website, and, on information and belief, communicating regularly with the owner(s) of the site, facilitating communication between AmiriOutlet and members of the public, and continuing to collect fees from AmiriOutlet for its hosting services.” As such, AMIRI asserts that it is entitled to injunctive relief to permanently shut down the site, and it also entitled to damages in an amount to be proven at trial, but “believed to be no less than $1,000,000, per trademark, per counterfeit.”
As for the operators of the AmiriOutlet site, AMIRI, which is “on track to hit $100 million in annual sales by the end of 2022,” states that it will amend this complaint to allege “the true names and capacities of these DOE defendants” as soon as they are ascertained.
UPDATED (September 17, 2021): Likely as the result of an out of court settlement, AMIRI has filed to voluntarily dismiss the case.
The case is Atelier Luxury Group LLC v. PEG Tech, Inc., et. al., 2:21-cv-05599 (C.D.Cal.)