North Face Apparel Corp. v. Fujian Sharing Import & Export Ltd.

2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158807 (2011)

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North Face Apparel Corp. v. Fujian Sharing Import & Export Ltd.

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158807 (2011)

  • Written by Ann Wooster, JD

Facts

Fujian Sharing Import & Export Ltd. (Fujian) (defendant) was an online counterfeiting ring based in China through which manufacturers sold counterfeit goods that falsely bore the famous trademarks of retailers North Face Apparel Corp. and PRL USA Holdings, Inc. (the retailers) (plaintiffs). Fujian registered and used a large number of internet domain names for rogue websites set up to look like the authorized online stores for the retailers. Fujian was able to avoid liability and continue its counterfeiting business by switching to a new website whenever a rogue website was shut down. The retailers filed a complaint in the district court against Fujian for federal trademark counterfeiting, trademark infringement, and cybersquatting. Fujian failed to appear in the court or to respond to the retailers’ claims. The court found Fujian in civil contempt of court, entered a default judgment against Fujian, and entered a permanent injunction against Fujian’s counterfeiting activities. The Public Interest Registry (PIR) was a nonprofit corporation in the United States that managed the registry for all .org domain names on the internet. The PIR was not joined as a party to the lawsuit and was not a Fujian officer, agent, servant, employee, or attorney. The court ordered the PIR to disable temporarily, stop facilitating customer connections to, and transfer ownership of Fujian’s infringing domain names. Fujian continued its counterfeiting activities through rogue websites registered with the PIR. The retailers moved to hold the PIR in contempt of the court’s orders. At oral argument on the motion, the retailers claimed that the PIR aided and abetted Fujian’s unlawful activities.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Hellerstein, J.)

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