By Philip Zies
I recognize that a trademark holder has to aggressively defend its mark in order to preserve its mark. I also understand the motivation to stop counterfeiters from selling knock-offs when each purchase of a knock-off bag likely deprives you of hundreds of dollars in profits, had the knock-off purchaser actually bought one of your authentic bags from you instead.
We have all seen knock-off Coach purses offered for sale on Canal Street in New York City, or at the Straw Market in Nassau, Bahamas, or on Ebay. But, does that mean that EVERY Coach purse offered for sale in one of those venues MUST be a knock-off? Coach seems to think so.
According to a blog post on the World Trademark Review, Coach’s attorneys sent a cease-and-desist letter to Gina Kim, a seller on Ebay, demanding that she stop offering for sale her used Coach bag, apparently alleging the bag was counterfeit. Since the bag was authentic, not counterfeit, Kim sued Coach, Inc. and Coach Services, Inc. for violation of her State’s Consumer Protection Act, Misrepresentation of Trademark Infringement, Defamation, and Tortious Interference with Business Expectancy.
Who knows whether Kim will prevail on any of her claims, but what she has certainly won is my admiration for standing up to this week’s IP Bully candidate, Coach.