Alex Fetanat’s Latest Post: Piguet’s Court Case

Recently, A watch company has been ordered to pay luxury watchmaker Audemars Piguet more than $9 million in damages for selling a watch that was deemed to be a knockoff of Audemars’ “Royal Oak.”

Royal Oak

A Royal Oak watch, which sells for upwards of $15,000 and is frequently subject to knockoffs.

According to court papers, New York District Court Judge Harold Baer Jr. ruled on Monday in favor of  Piguet in a lawsuit against Swiss Watch International Inc. (SWI) and executive Lior Ben-Shmuel. In the suit,  Piguet claimed that the defendants’ recently-released Swiss Legend Trimix watches, which were sold for less than $250, were too similar in design to the Royal Oak, an extremely expensive watch that has been around since the 1970s and sells for more than $15,000.

In his ruling, which followed a four-day bench trial in June, Judge Baer sided with Piguet, noting that the “similarities between these watches remains striking.”

He awarded damages totaling $9.8 million in the case, noting that it is “more likely than not that defendants intentionally used plaintiffs’ marks with the knowledge that these marks were counterfeit,” court papers state.  Nonetheless, SWI claims that it “respectfully disagrees” with the court’s ruling, and plan on appealing the verdict.

Several times, Baer noted that SWI continued to both sell and profit from its Trimix watches, even after they were confronted at the 2011 Baselworld show and received a cease-and-desist letter from Audemars Piguet in May 2012.

In addition to damages, SWI has been permanently enjoined from selling the Swiss Legend Trimix and must recall any inventory from other retailers.

This is not the first time Audemars Piguet has gone to court to protect the Royal Oak.  In October, Piguet settled a trademark infringement suit with Tommy Hilfiger USA Inc. and Movado Group Inc. over Hilfiger’s Eton watch.  In addition, fashion brand Michael Kors took an allegedly infringing watch off the market after Piguet confronted them.

via Alex Fetanat


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