Melbourne footwear company Hepbourne has been ordered to pay US clothing company Deckers Outdoor Corp $7.5 million for selling fake sheepskin Ugg boots. Deckers has obtained court orders on a number of occasions preventing Hepbourne and its director Vladimir Vaysman from selling the boots.
However according to Federal Court documents, Hepbourne continued to sell the boots at markets and online, even after legal action was launched and the homes of selling agents were searched.
“Hepbourne, acting through Vladimir Vaysman, was intent on manufacturing and marketing counterfeit footwear, totally disregarding Deckers’ rights and Court orders,” Federal Court judge Justice Richard Tracey said in his judgement.
“The commencement of legal proceedings, the execution of search orders and the making of restraining orders were simply treated as inconvenient interruptions to what was intended to be, and was, for over four years, a calculated and successful attempt to make money through selling footwear which purported to have been manufactured by Deckers.”
Describing the case as one of the worst copyright breaches to come before the court, Tracey awarded Deckers (Classic Ugg pictured) $3 million in damages for lost profits and a further $3.5 million for the flagrancy of the copyright breach. The defendants were also ordered to pay $1 million in costs.
Despite Decker’s long pursuit of Hepbourne and its directors, retrieving the money could be onerous. Liquidators were appointed to Hepbourne on 26 August.