Ugg Boots vs. Counterfeiters: Working That Foreign Court Judgment

May 3, 2012

I regularly talk about misguided brand owners who sue Chinese counterfeiters offshore and are left with useless foreign court judgments. This one’s an exception, and maybe a new trend? From the Fashion Law Blog:

Deckers Outdoor Corp., Uggs’ parent company, was awarded $686 million in lawsuits against more than 3,000 China-based websites selling counterfeit Uggs. Similarly to the Hermes case, much of the funds that Deckers was awarded were seized from the defendants’ PayPal accounts, a practice that was previously not possible. However, in accordance with Operation In Our Sites, an initiative operated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, the Department of Justice may recover defendants’ funds collected via PayPal. Money transferred from PayPal accounts to bank accounts in China, for instance, may also be collected. This is so important because otherwise, the money would be nearly impossible to recover as the defendants are almost always based overseas.

Very cool stuff indeed, although I can’t tell from that description how much money was/will actually be seized and transferred to the plaintiffs. Moreover, I wonder how long it will take counterfeiters to adapt to the new reality and be smarter about money transfers.