Products Merely Having the “Look and Feel” of a Trademarked Brand Can Still Be a Counterfeit in the Eyes of the Law

Designers have been increasingly proactive in protecting their marks and brands by filing trademark infringement suits against those making “knock-off” products.  Louis Vitton recently celebrated the upholding of a $335,000 judgment against Joseph Mosseri for online sales of counterfeit Louis Vuitton products.

But what if a competitor copies only the “look and feel” of an item.  Does that also constitute infringement?  A growing number of designers are filing trade dress infringement suits in such cases, claiming that knock-off trade dress items are also counterfeit. 

In one recent case, the maker of “Swiss Flash” Swiss army tools successfully sued a counterfeiter creating tools with a similar look and feel.  In that case, Victorinox was awarded $600,00 in statutory damages.  See Victorinox AG v. U.S. Flash & Technologies LLC, 2010 WL 5691991 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 21, 2010) Such success stories are making trade dress infringement claims more appealing to those wishing to protect their products.

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