March 2014 • ABPIA Update



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Big Win in Court for ABPIA

On February 10, 2014, The American Bridal and Prom Industry Association was granted a huge milestone in its fight against counterfeit merchants by the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. Over the past several months, the ABPIA has filed multiple lawsuits against the owners of approximately 1,100 websites seeking damages and asking the Court to restrain those website owners from marketing and selling counterfeit dresses and formal wear. The Courts sided with the ABPIA and entered several preliminary injuctions against the counterfeit retailers, ordering all funds in defendants’ merchant accounts be froze on sites such as PayPal, and directing the registrars of the website domains to disable and lock it down until further notice.

Craig Hilliard, attorney for ABPIA, explains “ The Court’s Preliminary Injunction Order in each of these lawsuits is broad, and in addition to enjoining the website owners from selling counterfeit formalwear, each Order also: 1) freezes any merchant accounts of the websites maintained by third-party payment providers such as PayPal; and 2) directs the registrars of the domains to disable them and render them untransferable until the further Order of the Court. The PayPal and other accounts will remain frozen until the further directive of the Court. To date, none of the defendants named in any of these additional lawsuits has filed any response or otherwise opposed the relief sought by ABPIA.”

While this ruling will essentially shut-down the 1,100 websites named in the lawsuits, the ABPIA has just scratched the surface. Steve Lang, ABPIA president and CEO of Mon Cheri Bridals, LLC stated in a written release, “This is by no means the end of the road. In fact, it is only a beginning. ABPIA’s investigation has uncovered thousands of additional websites which are marketing and selling knockoff goods, and ABPIA will be filing additional lawsuits in the coming weeks to continue the fight against counterfeits.”

In addition to the lawsuits filed, the organization’s anti-counterfeiting efforts also include pursuing the cooperation of internet search engines, including Google. The ABPIA counsel is currently in dialogue with Google, Inc. to persuade the internet service provider to prohibit illegitimate merchants from using Google’s Sponsored Ads, Sponsored Images, and AdWords to generate traffic to websites using the protected trademarks and images of ABPIA members.

Members of the formalwear industry are urged to continue to support the efforts of the ABPIA in achieving its principal objectives:
1) to take any and all appropriate and lawful action against the marketing and sale of counterfeit formalwear products;
2) to educate consumers, retailers and members of the formal industry and the general public about the harm to consumers and fair competition in the formalwear industry caused by the marketing and sale of counterfeit products; and
3) to lobby governmental entities to aid the formalwear industry in the fight against the marketing and sale of counterfeit products.

Members of the industry can join the effort by contacting the ABPIA via its website, or by contacting Stephen Lang, ABPIA President and CEO of member company, Mon Cheri Bridals, LLC at slang@mcbridals.com.

To read the full press release click here.

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