Beats Electronics, owned by hip-hop artist and producer Dr. Dre, is an American producer of headphones, speakers and other audio products.
Four years ago, sales of premium headphones – those priced $99 and up – were worth $59 million in North America. In 2012, headphone sales exploded to $850 million, and nearly two out of three pairs were sold by Beats Electronics.
Last week, Beats filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against several websites selling counterfeit headphones.
Beats says the guilty parties are a group of Chinese counterfeiters working together to sell phony products. However, it is extremely difficult for the company to learn the exact identities or business dealings of the infringers, because they are working in a foreign country.
Counterfeit products manufactured in Asian countries are fairly common. Many of the sites produce substandard products that cost as little as $10-15. The infringing items feature the Beats’ trademark “b” logo, but are far below the quality of any actual Beats merchandise.
The offending sites did more than sell copycat products. The infringers created websites such as www.ilovebeatsbydrdre.com, using the same design and copyrighted images from the official Beats by Dre website.
Beats is refusing to let the infringement go unpunished. The company’s global brand protection department regularly collaborates with foreign law enforcement to arrest infringers and destroy counterfeit merchandise.
Beats’ lawsuit demands all profits from these sales, plus damages of up to $2 million for each use of the Beats trademarks, and $100,000 for each infringing domain.
In four similar lawsuits, Beats has been able to attach assets in American financial institutions to the infringers, allowing them to freeze Paypal accounts and regain at least a portion of counterfeiters’ funds.
Counterfeit products are illegal in all countries. Even if infringers are operating overseas, the right legal strategy could shut down their access to consumers and help businesses recover lost funds.
Klein Trial Lawyers has years of experience protecting businesses’ intellectual property. Counterfeit merchandise can compromise your reputation and damage your brand, so call today to discuss your case with a one of our licensed attorneys.
[Did You Know: The U.S. government seized over $1.26 billion in counterfeit goods in 2012, up from $1.11 billion in 2011.]
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