Michael Kors goes on civil seizing spree: LAWSUIT

314 Fifth Avenue and Michael Kors (photo credit: Ed Kavishe via Wikipedia)

Michael Kors is done getting ripped off!

The fashion designer just filed a suit against an unnamed defendant accused of peddling counterfeit versions of Michael Kors branded accessories in Korea Town. Two landlords, who own and have owned the building at 314 Fifth Avenue where the goods are allegedly being sold, are also named in the suit.

According to the suit, Michael Kors is a brand with “a jet-set aesthetic that combines stylish elegance and a sporty attitude.” Of course, what was likely being sold at the K-Town outlet was low-end knock-offs of the low-end Michael Kors-branded swag beloved by suburban mall rats. Still, the suit alleges that the fakes are “likely to cause confusion and mistake in the minds of the purchasing public,” who can’t tell the difference between a real gaudy MK tag and a fake one.

The suit notes that Kors conducted “civil seizure of counterfeit merchandise” in the building on five separate occasions between August 2014 and December 2016. The seizures yielded an insane amount of counterfeit merchandise, including over 2,000 MK tags, more than 600 handbags, almost 500 wallets and lots of other random merchandise (a pair of slippers, for instance). Kors claims he sent letters to the landlords on all occasions after the seizures to let them know they took place.

The two landlords named in the suit are 314 Fifth Avenue, Inc, which sold the building for nearly $20 million in May 2016, and 5th Ave Gateway Land, LLC, the current owner. Kors’ suit claims that both landlords have “turned a blind eye to the activities of the tenant defendants on the property, creating a safe haven and marketplace from which counterfeit goods bearing plaintiff’s federally registered trademarks are routinely sold.”

Kors is seeking an injunction that would restrict the tenants from selling any other counterfeits and the landlords from leasing space to any tenant who sells counterfeit Michael Kors products. He is also seeking damages for an undetermined amount.

Kors himself has been at the receiving end of a trademark lawsuit. In 2009, he was sued by the estate of the designer Tony Duquette for allegedly using his mark on MK clothes and in marketing materials without permission.

  • JEng

    “who can’t tell the difference between a real gaudy MK tag and a fake one.”

    lol anyway his stuff is the opposite of gaudy. Who would wander into that postcard shop looking for Michael Kors though … pizza scented MIchael Kors.

    and how did he find out? Normal NYers would never go into one of those stores nevermind ask if they had any Michael Kors bags.

    This is a strange news story.

    The government should make it automatic to remove such a tenant if they want the owners to be able to remove them – otherwise you involve the owners in something that might be too much for them to handle legally. Most businesses especially cash have deeper pockets for litigation than building owners who are landlocked and it’s easy to gaslight an owner by being a misbehaving tenant who SRO’s like the Sky Horse Travel Agency partner (the other owner at one time and may still be Charles Luk who is Hotelier John Lam’s brother in law) or demand column removal as a tenant which could cause a building collapse like the tenant Jack Lai whose brother is the president of the company that does all of hotelier John Lam’s wiring. The government should HELP the owners not help to take their buildings from them. But does NYC really have the right kind of government these days? I don’t think so.

    • JEng

      I haven’t looked at a fashion magazine or followed fashion in maybe 20 years and even I know who Michael Kors is.

      I think it is adorable that regular folks who don’t know and would never go near a brand like … Loewe – know enough to WANT Michael Kors.

      Despite the aggravation of being bootlegged, it’s probably much nicer to be as well known and well thought of as Michael Kors must be compared to so many established brands from Europe who can’t pay for this level of renown and publicity.