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Tory Burch Wins $164 Million in Counterfeiting Lawsuit


Tory Burch Reva ballet flat

Photo: Toryburch.com

Ain't nothing like the real thing: Tory Burch's Classic Reva Ballet Flat, $195; available at ToryBurch.com

Tory Burch 1, counterfeiters 0.

The womenswear brand's lawsuit against Web sites selling counterfeit goods has resulted in a staggering $164 million judgment in its favor, believed to be the largest amount of monetary damages ever awarded to a fashion label in a counterfeit case, Women's Wear Daily reports.

Though the brand may actually have little luck in collecting the windfall, the hefty amount is a symbolic victory in the fashion industry's fight against counterfeiters.

Tory Burch had filed suit against a group of 41 Web sites (aka cybersquatters) selling knockoff versions of her ubiquitous Reva ballet flats as well as other footwear, handbag, and accessory designs.

In addition to the monetary damages, the New York federal court ordered 232 of the defendants' domain names (including ToryBurchOutletShop.com) to be disabled and turned over to the label. Tory Burch also gained the power to disable any additional "knockoff" sites created by the cybersquatters, most of which originate in China.

"Many people think that buying a fake product is harmless, but counterfeiting is estimated to result in annual losses of over $20 billion to American companies,” namesake CEO and designer Tory Burch tells WWD.

“This is an important victory for Tory and all designers,” adds CFDA executive director Steven Kolb. “Counterfeiting not only robs the designer of what is rightfully theirs, but also negatively impacts the American economy and the jobs associated with designers’ investments.”

According to Robert Isen, Burch's brother and the company's chief legal officer and president of corporate development, the lawsuit was inspired by Polo Ralph Lauren and The North Face's September 2010 victory against 130 Chinese cybersquatters.

Because fashion companies must use third-party channels to obtain their monetary damages, Isen claims that Tory Burch has only received a sum in the "hundreds-of-thousands range" thus far. Still, he's optimistic that the landmark judgment will trigger more cyberquatting lawsuits from other fashion labels.

“With that said, counterfeiters are extremely resourceful,” he says. “It’s a constant fight. This is not the end of a journey for us. In some respects, it’s just the beginning.”

In other legal news, Jeffrey Campbell is suing Forever 21 for allegedly copying its shoe styles.

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