Coach, Inc. (NYSE:COH) (SEHK:6388), a leading marketer of modern classic American accessories, today announced that it has obtained a default judgment of $257 million in a lawsuit filed in Illinois Federal Court against individuals and businesses that operate websites selling counterfeit Coach merchandise. The judgment also awards Coach the ownership of 573 internet domain names, which are the websites from which defendants conducted their illegal operations.
This judgment is the latest victory in Coach’s campaign against counterfeiters. Coach launched its comprehensive anti-counterfeiting litigation campaign, known as “Operation Turnlock” in May of 2009. Operation Turnlock was designed to make business increasingly more difficult for those involved in any aspect of trafficking in counterfeit goods.
“The magnitude of this judgment underscores the severity and illegality of counterfeiting, and sends a clear message that our courts will enforce the law. This judgment should serve as a warning to everyone involved in any aspect of trafficking in counterfeit goods that Coach will find you and will seek to impose the harshest penalties available against you,” said Todd Kahn, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Coach.
“In addition to the award, obtaining the domain names used by defendants in this case is a tremendous achievement. All the illegal websites operated by defendants include the word “Coach” in the domain name (also known as the website address) which potentially confuses consumers into believing that they are purchasing genuine Coach merchandise,” said Nancy Axilrod, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of Coach.Since the inception of Operation Turnlock, Coach has filed lawsuits and obtained significant monetary awards against virtually every link in the chain of counterfeit distribution, including manufacturers, wholesalers, retail operators, those operating websites, as well as flea market operators and landlords who provide a location from which others sell counterfeit merchandise. Coach, with headquarters in New York, is a leading American marketer of fine accessories and gifts for women and men, including handbags, men’s bags, women’s and men’s small leathergoods, weekend and travel accessories, footwear, watches, outerwear, scarves, sunwear, fragrance, jewelry and related accessories. Coach is sold worldwide through Coach stores, select department stores and specialty stores, and through Coach’s website at www.coach.com. Coach’s common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol COH and Coach’s Hong Kong Depositary Receipts are traded on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited under the symbol 6388. Neither the Hong Kong Depositary Receipts nor the Hong Kong Depositary Shares evidenced thereby have been or will be registered under the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the "Securities Act"), and may not be offered or sold in the United States or to, or for the account of, a U.S. Person (within the meaning of Regulation S under the Securities Act), absent registration or an applicable exemption from the registration requirements. Hedging transactions involving these securities may not be conducted unless in compliance with the Securities Act. This press release contains forward-looking statements based on management's current expectations. These statements can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "may," "will," "should," "expect," “confidence,” “trends,” "intend," "estimate," "on track," "are positioned to," “on course,” “opportunity,” “become,” “forward,” "continue," "project," "guidance," “target,” "forecast,” “achieve,” "anticipated," or comparable terms. Future results may differ materially from management's current expectations, based upon risks and uncertainties such as expected economic trends, the ability to anticipate consumer preferences, the ability to control costs, etc. Please refer to Coach’s latest Annual Report on Form 10-K for a complete list of risk factors.