If you market popular products, like Uggs or All Stars, you can bet your life others will copy them. Fake products are frequently of poor quality and may contain harmful substances. Worse still, the sale of counterfeits is often associated with organised crime, which may damage a brand’s good name and reputation.
Björn Borg is apparently very much annoyed by knock-offs and has therefore adopted a zero-tolerance policy. Under this policy, Björn Borg has all counterfeit items it comes across (whether or not by means of trial purchases) seized and destroyed. The success of the policy is demonstrated by the seizure of more than 120,000 fake underwear products so far in Belgium.
According to Björn Borg, consumers can be sure to get the real thing only if they purchase their products through its official stores or authorised retailers.
Björn Borg’s position does not change the fact that consumers can also buy and sell Björn Borg products through other channels, for instance unofficial webshops or Marktplaats.nl. It is impossible for Björn Borg to take action against such trade if the relevant products were sold in Europe by the company itself or with its consent, as this implies that the rights to those products are exhausted.
Consumers reselling Björn Borg products purchased through an unofficial retailer must be careful not to offer any infringing items for sale. They cannot avoid liability by using their ignorance as an excuse. After all, ‘knowledge’ and ‘good faith’ are irrelevant when it comes to IP infringement.
In other words, offers of Björn Borg products on Marktplaats.nl that appear too good to be true often are. In that case, you should think twice before reselling such items in an effort to cash in on the deal, as it will prompt Björn Borg to send a cease and desist letter or seize the infringing products.