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adidas and Reebok are going after Instagram sellers who are distributing the brands’ counterfeit versions of their sneakers.
In a suit filed on 9 April, adidas and Reebok claimed that more than 50 online sellers have infringed the trademarks of both brands by “promoting, selling and distributing goods” that bear counterfeits which bearing similarities to original iterations.
Though the qualities of the counterfeits and the genuine goods are “substantially different,” it has managed to confuse consumers, leading them into thinking that they are purchasing authentic Reebok or adidas sneakers.
These sellers—believed to be possibly based in China—are selling their goods through at least one e-commerce store or on marketplace websites and platforms such as eBay, Bonanza and Instagram, with the intention of confusing consumers that the genuine quality goods are offered at a discounted price.
Individual sellers, who operate behind seller identification aliases such as ‘Kith1435’ and ‘Sneakermaster666’, use famous names and trademarks to drive customers to their social media accounts or e-commerce stores. These activities increase the value of these sellers and decrease the legitimacy of adidas’ and Reebok’s marketplace.
One major aspect of this lawsuit highlights how these counterfeits profit and benefit from the advertising and marketing strategies similar to the tactics adopted by footwear behemoths.
The suit also takes aim at social media platforms like Facebook, where these sellers boost their presence and profit by paying for sponsored posts to promote their fake goods.
Both brands are seeking $2 million from each of the 53 sellers for every counterfeit trademark used, which totals up to roughly $106,000,000 in damages claim.[via The Fashion Law, opening image via adidas Originals]