Craig S. Hilliard, Shareholder at Stark & Stark, representing the American Bridal & Prom Industry Association (ABPIA) recently received final judgments in several federal lawsuits against various international bridal and prom counterfeiters. These judgments were issued throughout the month of June and brought an end to more than two years of litigation.
The ABPIA commenced these lawsuits in late 2012, by filing against over 1500 different websites engaged in the sale of counterfeit products to unsuspecting customers. The ABPIA was represented by Mr. Hilliard, who is a member of Stark & Stark’s Litigation and Intellectual Property groups, where he concentrates his practice in the area of federal civil litigation. Mr. Hilliard has been representing the ABPIA since its inception.
Early on in the lawsuits, the ABPIA was successful in disabling the counterfeiters’ websites and seizing assets, located primarily in PayPal accounts. With the final decision, these websites and their domains were permanently shut down and transferred, along with the remaining assets, to the ABPIA. These assets totaled about $2.2 million.
“This decision is a landmark for our organization,” said Stephen Lang, ABPIA’s President and CEO of Mon Cheri Bridals, LLC. “But it’s only the first step in an aggressive path we are taking to cut off the flow of counterfeit formalwear products into this country, because those fake goods harm both consumers and the legitimate designers and manufacturers who invest millions each year in offering their creative work to those consumers. With these recent victories, the ABPIA will be intensifying its efforts in the coming months to battle counterfeits, educate consumers about the dangers of counterfeit products and work with the state and federal agencies and legislators to both enforce and improve the laws protecting customers and designers.”
The ABPIA is a not-for-profit organization founded in July 2012, and since its creation, has gained over 400 members, who include the designers, manufacturers, retailers and others in the formalwear industry. The organization was started with the goal of combating formalwear counterfeiters, which have become a growing threat since the advent of the Internet.