Global brand crushes local copycat

Tokidoki_w250The success of a copyright case brought by global brand Tokidoki against an Australian company purveying counterfeit goods is a significant win against “copycat” traders, according to Tokidoki’s legal representation in the lawsuit.

Headquartered in the US, cult brand Tokidoki’s apparel, bags and accessories feature distinctive Japanese-inspired characters and designs. The brand, whose status has spawned collaborations with high profile labels including Karl Lagerfeld, Hello Kitty, Fujitsu and Levi’s, sells its products widely through retailers across Australia.

Recent weeks have seen settlement of a case brought by Tokidoki in the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia against the owners of Kopuz Leather, who had been selling counterfeit Tokidoki product at Paddy’s Market in Sydney. The respondents agreed to pay significant costs and damages to Tokidoki and undertook not to manufacture, import, sell or promote products featuring “Tokidoki” trademarks without Tokidoki’s consent.

Middletons law firm, which acted for Tokidoki, confirmed the case originated in January 2010, when Tokidoki was alerted by the Australian Customs Service to a shipment containing counterfeit bags featuring swing tags and labels bearing the “Tokidoki” trademark. Some of the bags featured reproductions of Tokidoki’s Eco and Carnival (pictured) designs, which were protected in Australia as copyright works, while others featured designs not created by Tokidoki but imitating the Tokidoki style.

Tokidoki issued proceedings in the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia, claiming that Kopuz Leather had, in offering for sale and selling counterfeit “Tokidoki” products, committed acts of trade mark infringement, copyright infringement, misleading and deceptive conduct and the tort of passing off.

Middletons partner Tony Watson said it was hoped the settlement would send a strong message to importers and retailers not to import or sell counterfeit goods.

“Counterfeiting is now more prevalent than ever in Australia and throughout the world and brands like Tokidoki need to be vigilant in protecting their intellectual property rights and taking action against counterfeiters and sellers of counterfeit product,” Watson said.

“The Customs program operated by Australian Customs Service clearly works very well and greatly assists brand owners in seizing counterfeit product at the border before the products enter into the Australian marketplace. All brand owners should set up Customs programs with Australian Customs Services as it is a low cost and effective way of identifying and seizing counterfeit product at the border.”

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