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Coach wins legal victory over counterfeiters

By Emily Cronin

Coach has won a $257 million (£160m) judgment against counterfeit websites in a US court.

The victory gives Coach legal backing to shut down more than 573 websites linked to the sale of copycat merchandise, but the monetary part of the judgment is largely symbolic—it’s nearly impossible to find the counterfeiters behind the websites. Winning the right to shut the sites down is worth the effort, one executive said.

‘The magnitude of this judgment underscores the severity and illegality of counterfeiting, and sends a clear message that our courts will enforce the law,’ Todd Kahn, Coach’s executive vice president and general counsel, told WWD.

The damages rank among the highest ever awarded to a fashion brand—more than Tory Burch’s $164m win in June 2011, and more than Hermes and Burberry’s $100m victories.

‘The primary focus of the lawsuit is to seize domain names,’ Coach Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Nancy Axilrod said.

The only companies to win higher damages judgments in connection with internet counterfeiting so far are Ugg Australia, which won $66m in May, and True Religion. The denim brand won $863.9m in March.

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