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Monday, January 24, 2011

Tiffany Sues Chinese Counterfeit Websites


Tiffany & Co. has filed a lawsuit against 44 websites based in China that sell counterfeit Tiffany products.

The civil suit argues that the websites are “are promoting, selling, offering for sale and distributing counterfeit and infringing Tiffany branded products.”

The lawsuit adds that the websites “constitute willful and intentional infringement and counterfeiting of Tiffany's trademarks in total disregard of Tiffany's rights, and have taken place … in spite of defendants' knowledge that their use of Tiffany's trademarks was and is in direct contravention of Tiffany's rights.”

The three defendants listed in the complaint are Ge Wang, King Wang, and Ning Zhou, along with “various unknown associates.” The formal charges are for trademark, counterfeiting and infringement, false designation of origin, and cyberpiracy.

The suit was filed in federal court in Norfolk, Va., the state where the luxury jewelry retailer has its websites registered, according to a story in The Virginian-Pilot. U.S. District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith on January 18 extended a temporary restraining order that prohibits some 44 websites from selling knockoff Tiffany products. However, the websites quickly change names, and their operators are nearly impossible to locate.

At least some of the websites, such as tiffanymall.org and tiffanystore.org, now redirect visitors to a website that outlines the lawsuit.

Tiffany will seek a preliminary injunction at a hearing on Feb. 1 and, ultimately, a permanent injunction, the newspaper reports.

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