The North Face and Polo Ralph Lauren Win Ruling Against Rogue Websites

About 950 websites shutdown to combat counterfeiting during the holidays.

The law firm Greenberg Traurig won a major ruling Monday afternoon (Dec. 20) for its clients The North Face Apparel Corp. (a subsidiary of VF Corp) and Polo Ralph Lauren USA Inc in the battle against online counterfeiting. A judge in the Southern District of New York unsealed a temporary restraining order against about 950 rogue websites and granted a permanent injunction against the websites while also finding them in contempt of court. The ruling affects websites in the United States, Europe and Canada that are offering counterfeit goods, a particularly significant problem during the holiday season.

“This order is at the forefront of the fight against online counterfeiting,” said Roxanne Elings, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs and a shareholder in Greenberg Traurig’s New York office. “Counterfeiters will cease doing business only when the consequences are real and the risks outweigh the benefits. The Internet has provided counterfeiters with a perfect business model where the benefits outweigh any risks. If one website is shut down, counterfeiters easily open ten more of the same. This court's order recognizes the imbalance the Internet has created and provides the brand owner with better tools to increase risk to the counterfeiter and protect its consumers.”

The order follows the court’s $78 million judgment against some of the websites in March 2010. It allows the apparel companies to serve the order on new websites as they find them and freeze any monies found connected to those websites.