Fashion

Versace Wins Landmark Counterfeit Case

Fashion

Versace Wins Landmark Counterfeit Case

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I’m not normally one for big logo branding—or bags for that matter—but there was something about pins piercing leather that had me measuring the repercussions if I were to get caught trying to steal one of the J.W. Anderson for Versus Versace handbags off of that model driven bicycle carousel at the capsule collection launch party. Maybe it was a punk hangover. Maybe it was the Clueless connotations of the yellow one. Maybe I hadn’t satisfied my kleptomania yet that week. I figured I could just claim it was a joke? Or play the coke card? What, this thing? I have no idea what it’s doing inside my Karma Karma canvas tote bag. Why would I try and steal something so audaciously? I’m being framed! I wanted one, bad. But I could never pay for one. I considered it, and figured, 1. making a scene would be embarrassing (I was there do to a job), and 2. a knockoff might actually be funnier than the real thing.

No Versace knockoffs for you! A court in Northern California has just ruled (in a “landmark case”) that the Griffith Suisse Luxury Group, which was selling counterfeit Versace-branded merchandise on eBay, is now prohibited from doing so. Versace filed the suit four and a half years ago and, after all that litigation, they are (quote), “very pleased with the ruling.”

“Counterfeit goods not only bring to a dilution of the brand, but are connected to organised crime, child labour and harmful working conditions,” Versace CEO Gian Giacomo Ferraris told WWD. “Versace is a brand that is well known around the world, and the violation of its intellectual property rights is a problem that the company has always been actively fighting. One cannot take pride in being counterfeited.”

Last week, we reported on Los Angeles shoe brand Jeffrey Campbell’s clear counterfeits. In that article, I suggested that, while some luxury brands may feel like the integrity of their work is damaged by counterfeiting, others may be benefiting from the added exposure and/or the “fuel to the fire” that knockoffs douse on the ever-accelerating fashion economy. Versace is clearly part of the first category. Versace goods are threatened by knockoffs because the thing consumers are after when they buy Versace is a symbol—what the Medusa head means, the Milan brand’s cultural capital, its intellectual property—and that symbol is easily replicated.

Authentic Versace products now carry a “Certilogo code,” a unique traceable serial number that enables a product to be verified. “It’s a clear system and very transparent,” explained Ferraris. “We want to protect consumers and all those affected by the manufacture and trade in fake goods.”