On June 11, 2014, NBA Properties, MLB Advanced Media, Major League Baseball Properties, NHL Enterprises, Collegiate Licensing Company, and Louisiana State University (collectively “Plaintiffs”) filed suit against various defendants based on the sale of alleged counterfeit products on the World Wide Web through various Websites. According to Plaintiffs’ Complaint, the lawsuit was filed by Plaintiffs to combat online counterfeiters who trade upon Plaintiffs’ reputation and goodwill by selling and/or offering for sale unlicensed and counterfeit products featuring one or more of the trademarks owned and/or licensed by the Plaintiffs. The Defendants are individuals and business entities who are believed to reside in the People’s Republic of China or other foreign jurisdictions.
The Defendants, operators of stores on the World Wide Web, are believed to share unique identifiers, such as website design and/or similarities of the counterfeit products offered for sale, establishing a logical relationship among them and suggesting that Defendants’ counterfeiting operation arises out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences. Plaintiffs allege that Defendants attempt to avoid liability by going to great lengths to conceal both their identities and the full scope and interworking of their counterfeiting operation. The Plaintiffs further allege that Defendants facilitate sales of counterfeit products by intentionally designing the stores on the Web so they appear to unknowing consumers to be legitimate online retailers, outlet stores, or wholesalers selling products bearing the Plaintiffs’ trademarks under the premise that they are licensed by, or on behalf, of Plaintiffs. According to the Plaintiffs’ Complaint, the Defendants sell counterfeit products purporting to emanate from multiple Plaintiffs.
Accordingly, Plaintiffs seek monetary damages under the following causes of action: 1) trademark infringement and counterfeiting (15 U.S.C. § 1114), 2) false designation of origin (15 U.S.C. § 1125(a)), 3) and violations of the Illinois Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act (815 ILCS § 510, et seq.). Additionally, Plaintiffs allege they have been irreparably harmed and continue to be irreparably damaged through consumer confusion, dilution, and tarnishment of their valuable trademarks as a result of Defendants’ actions and seek injunctive relief under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (15 U.S.C. § 1125(d)).