Harley-Davidson seeks court action to stop Chinese counterfeiters

Motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson has sued a group of Chinese counterfeiters allegedly running internet stores to sell counterfeit goods to US residents.

The complaint (pdf) was filed at the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on Monday, November 6.

Harley-Davidson described the defendants as an interrelated group of counterfeiters made up of “individuals and business entities who reside in China”.

The defendants were accused of creating internet stores that appear to unknowing consumers to be authorised online retailers.

“Many of the defendants’ internet stores look sophisticated and accept payment in US dollars via credit cards, Western Union and PayPal. They often include content and images that make it very difficult for consumers to distinguish such stores from an authorised retailer,” the complaint added.

Furthermore, the defendants were accused of using unauthorised search engine optimisation tactics so that the stores appear higher in search engine results.

Harley-Davidson owns a number of US registered trademarks including number 0,507,163 for the ‘Harley-Davidson’ name, first registered in 1949, and 4,771,442 for the skull logo used for “a full line of jewellery in class 14”.

Examples of the internet stores were sealed as part of the complaint.

“Defendants’ unauthorised use of the Harley-Davidson trademarks is likely to cause and has caused confusion, mistake and deception by and among consumers, and is irreparably harming Harley-Davidson,” the complaint added.

Harley-Davidson is seeking injunctive relief, $ 2 million for each and every use of the Harley-Davidson trademarks as well as court costs and attorneys’ fees.

The motorcycle manufacturer has been busy in the courts this year to clamp down on counterfeiters.

As reported by WIPR, it was granted an injunction in May against a group of Chinese counterfeiters and awarded $ 1 million statutory damages from each of the defaulting defendants for wilful use of counterfeit Harley-Davidson trademarks.

In August, it filed another trademark infringement lawsuit against counterfeiters, seeking the same level of damages as the one on Monday ($ 2 million for each trademark use).

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Craig Ballantyne

I love anything to do with Harley Davidson and have two beautiful children and a beautiful partner. In my spare time i like building websites and love anything to do with the internet.

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