Handbag Maker Gets Relief Against Knockoffs

     MIAMI (CN) – Fashion company Michael Kors was granted an injunction against imitators by a federal judge, stopping the sale of counterfeit handbags and other goods.
     Michael Kors LLC sued a group of sellers, identified by their online handles, last month in Southern Florida. The company claimed that the sellers were promoting and distributing counterfeit products bearing Michael Kors’ trademarks. Michael Kor owns trademarks for handbags, watches, jewelry and cases for phones and other devices.
     In order to be granted a preliminary injunction, a party must show a likelihood of success, a potential irreparable injury if an injunction is not granted, that the possible injury outweighs the potential harm of an injunction, and that an injunction would serve the public interest.
     U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke granted the injunction Sept. 2.
     “Although each defendant may not have copied and infringed each of the Michael Kors marks for each category of goods protected, plaintiff has submitted sufficient evidence showing each defendant has infringed at least one or more of the Michael Kors marks at issue,” the judge wrote.
     Investigators hired by Michael Kors ordered allegedly infringing products online and paid for them through PayPal, according to court records.
     The fashion company has a strong probability of success at trial and will likely be hurt without an injunction, Cooke ruled.
     “The balance of potential harm to defendants in restraining their trade in counterfeit and infringing branded goods if a preliminary injunction is issued is far outweighed by the potential harm to plaintiff, its reputation, and goodwill as a manufacturer and distributor of quality products, if such relief is not issued,” she wrote. “The public interest favors issuance of the preliminary injunction in order to protect plaintiff’s trademark interest and protect the public from being defrauded by the palming off of counterfeit goods as plaintiff’s genuine goods.”
     Cooke also ruled that it is likely the online sellers have violated federal trademark laws. She ordered them to stop selling the “confusing similar” products.
     In addition, the judge ordered PayPal Inc. to “restrain all funds” in the sellers’ accounts.
     “PayPal shall also immediately, to the extent not already done, divert to a holding account for the trust of the court all funds in all PayPal accounts related to defendants and associated payment accounts and e-mail addresses identified,” Cooke wrote.
     Michael Kors’ investigators and attorney could not be reached for comment.

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