MIAMI (Florida Record) — World-renown high-end accessories and garments designer Michael Kors of New York is seeking millions of dollars from 150 entities operating in South Florida for allegedly selling knock-offs of Michael Kors merchandise.
The 28-page compliant for injunctive relief and damages filed June 21 alleges that defendants are committing federal trademark counterfeiting and infringement, false designation of origin, cybersquatting, common law unfair competition and common law trademark infringement. "[The] defendants' offers to sell and sales of counterfeit and infringing Michael Kors branded products are directly and unfairly competing with Michael Kors' economic interests in the state of Florida and causing harm and damage within this jurisdiction," the lawsuit said.
"Michael Kors regularly enforces its intellectual property rights and authorized this action be brought in its name."
The case was filed in U.S. District Court for Florida's Southern District Miami Division, and has been assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Ursula Ungaro.
Defendants are 145 "individuals, partnerships, and unincorporated associations" within the court's South Florida district that the lawsuit says "are promoting, selling, offering for sale and distributing goods using counterfeits and confusingly similar imitations of Michael Kors’ trademarks within this district through at least the fully interactive commercial Internet websites operating under the domain names identified on Schedule 'A' hereto."
The lawsuit alleges Michael Kors and "many other famous trademark owners in the luxury goods market" suffer "ongoing daily and sustained violations of its trademark rights at the hands of counterfeiters and infringers, such as defendants herein." Illegal operators reproduce and counterfeit high-end goods to dupe and confuse consumer and earn a substantial profit, according to the lawsuit.
"In order to combat the indivisible harm caused by the combined actions of defendants and others engaging in similar conduct, each year Michael Kors expends significant resources in connection with trademark enforcement efforts, including legal fees and investigative fees," the suit alleges. "The exponential growth of counterfeiting over the Internet has created an environment that requires Michael Kors to file a number of lawsuits, often it later turns out, against the same individuals and groups, in order to protect both consumers and itself from the ill effects of confusion and the erosion of the goodwill connected to the Michael Kors brand."
Michael Kors seeks relief, including "equitable relief and monetary relief" against defendants, a temporary restraining order, as well as preliminary and permanent injunctions and giving up their domain name registries. Michael Kors also seeks $2 million from each defendant for each counterfeit trademark used and product sold and $100,000 per cybersquatted domain name used, both under provisions of the Lanham Act, in addition to attorney fees and other relief.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Michael Kors by attorneys with the Fort Lauderdale law firm of Stephen M. Gaffigan PA under case No. 0:18-cv-61397-UU