Presented by the American Apparel & Footwear Association, the panel explored the difficulties caused by a growing number of counterfeit websites that have increasingly elusive origins and are getting better at confusing shoppers and siphoning brands’ revenues online.
Daniel McKinnon, senior trademark counsel at New Balance, noted, “What we’re uncovering today is the counterfeit landscape is vastly connected in a way that’s extremely scary. The only way these websites can have so much stock and ship it to you so fast is for them to all be connected back to one company or individual.”
He added that New Balance is investing in software that traces how each website is built, so the firm can map the code of websites that are constructed the same way, and pull all the sites down at once.
“We’ve spent a lot of money and got very little in return. Now we can say, this is what the landscape looks like, and we go and do these massive takedowns. We try to stop short of litigation,” said McKinnon.
For True Religion Brand Jeans, however, a more litigious approach seems to work.
Deborah Greaves, the company’s secretary and general counsel, said the firm sued about 650 websites in federal court in the last two months alone. The year before, the firm brought 250 suits, illustrating the intensity at which these sites continue to proliferate.