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Adidas and Reebok have filed a claim accusing 53 e-commerce sellers of trademark infringement, counterfeiting and unfair competition.
The sporting brands, which are seeking $2 million from each seller for each infringement, filed the complaint at the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida yesterday, April 9.
The individuals and entities listed as defendants are allegedly “promoting, selling, offering for sale, and distributing goods bearing counterfeits” and imitations of the sporting companies’ trademarks.
Both companies own multiple trademark registrations for their various marks. Adidas’s most recognisable marks have been used by the brand on sporting apparel and equipment for 55 years and Reebok has been using its most recognisable marks for “many years”, according to the claim.
Adidas and Reebok claimed that e-commerce stores and social media accounts including eBay, Bonanza, and Instagram are being used to sell the illicit products. The sellers are of “unknown make up” but allegedly reside and operate in foreign jurisdictions, directing their business towards US customers.
The sporting brands complained that the defendants have “engaged in fraudulent conduct” by providing false or misleading information to the platforms they sell on for the “sole purpose of engaging in illegal counterfeiting activities”.
Their internet businesses “amount to nothing more than illegal operations established and operated in order to infringe the IP rights” of others, Adidas and Reebok said.
They added that they “suffer ongoing daily and sustained violations of their trademark rights at the hands of counterfeiters and infringers” who aim to confuse the public and earn substantial profits, and the sale of the infringing products is directly and unfairly competing with their own economic interests.
Adidas and Reebok claimed that the growth of the internet has led to the companies needing to file a number of lawsuits “in order to protect both consumers and themselves”.
The brands have requested $2 million from each of the 53 defendants for each counterfeit trademark used and product sold.
The companies also asked the court to disable the seller identifications of the users on the relevant marketplace or social media platform, as well as requesting that financial institutions, including PayPal, identify and restrain all funds associated with the seller identifications provided.
Unless they are preliminarily and permanently enjoined, the defendants will continue to acquire seller identification aliases to sell counterfeit and confusing imitations of the sporting brands’ trademarks, according to the complaint.
Adidas, Reebok, sports trademarks, sports counterfeit, internet counterfeiting, e-commerce platforms, trademark infringement