Coach Inc. is currently winning the war on internet counterfeiting. The brand was recently awarded, by an Illinois federal court judge, a $257 million judgement. The ruling is among the largest that has been awarded for internet counterfeiting, second only to the ruling won by True Religion Apparel Inc. Along with the monetary award, the brand has also been given the right to seize and shut down 573 domain names that were selling fake Coach merchandise. Todd Kahn, Coach’s executive vice president and general counsel felt “the magnitude of this judgment underscores the severity and illegality of counterfeiting, and sends a clear message that our courts will enforce the law.”
The major win for the brand, in this case, is not the monetary award, but rather the ability to seize the domain names that are infringing on its copyrights. The judgement awarded is purely symbolic, for it is difficult, if not impossible, to physically locate the nefarious characters running the illegal sites. According to Kahn, “having the ability to shut down infringing sites is where companies begin to wield some power.” The ruling, coupled with Coach’s ongoing program, “Operation Turnlock,” which was created to aggressively track counterfeiters, will no doubt give Coach an edge in the ongoing war against counterfeiters.