An Illinois Federal court ordered a permanent injunction against the defendants and awarded Deckers a combined $686 million in damages. Acknowledging that the operators of the websites are located in China, and that Deckers does not expect full collection of the damage award, U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Guzman also granted Deckers restrained funds in hundreds of financial accounts linked to the websites, including funds held by PayPal. These funds will serve as partial payment for the damages awarded. Prior to the judgment, the Court granted a temporary restraining order in each case, granting Deckers control of the domains. Each domain was then redirected to a website alerting consumers that the domain was previously used for counterfeit sales.
These lawsuits are part of an aggressive effort by Deckers to combat online counterfeiting, particularly against rogue Chinese-based websites. Since 2011, Deckers has filed six lawsuits that has resulted in the transfer of over 6,000 domains and the freezing over of $1,000,000 in linked financial accounts. In addition to lawsuits, Deckers sends take-down letters to website servers hosting counterfeit sites, removes links to sites from search engines, and shuts down payment processing services. Overall, Deckers has taken action against over 23,000 sites and has had 19,000 links removed from search engines.
“Websites selling counterfeit UGG products look very convincing because they use Deckers images and offer products at believable sale prices,” said Leah Evert-Burks, Director of Brand Protection at Deckers. “These sites not only divert consumers attempting to purchase genuine UGG products but also supply counterfeit product to on-the-ground operations located in the U.S.” Evert-Burks added that Deckers’ online anti-counterfeiting efforts are part of a robust initiative that includes hundreds of raids and customs seizures around the world. Over 834,000 counterfeit UGG products and three million counterfeit components were seized worldwide in 2011.
UGG uses its own website and social media channels Facebook® and Twitter® to help consumers find authentic UGG product, both online and at retail stores worldwide. Consumers can use a search function at http://counterfeit.uggaustralia.com to enter a website address or retailer name to verify that it is an authorized UGG dealer.
Deckers was represented in this case by Chicago-based firm Greer, Burns & Crain, LTD.