Fashion giant Coach is fed up with the amount of handbag knock-offs for sale at Fort Lauderdale's Swap Shop, the Sun Sentinel reports.
On Friday, Coach filed a lawsuit against the corporation that owns the Swap Shop after a year of warnings and letters from the brand's lawyers. In November, an investigator from the company visited the market and discovered a lucrative counterfeit market of their handbags.
The suit is also against Preston Henn, who opened the Swap Shop in 1963 and now owns the land. Henn told the Sun Sentinel that there’s no way he could monitor what the thousands of vendors are selling every day, including knock-off Coach merchandise.
However, the Swap Shop is also popular with law enforcement. This past December, the market was a part of a six-week raid by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) looking for counterfeit goods. The raid was conducted in cities across the United States, Mexico, and in Seoul, South Korea.
In 2007, counterfeiting cost Americans more than 750,000 jobs, according to UL, an agency that promotes ethics in the corporate market. Coach has been aggressive in its efforts to target counterfeiting since the company’s introduction of Operation Turnlock in 2009.
Todd Kahn, Coach's senior president, argued for the need for an aggressive campaign:
The goal of Operation Turnlock is to make it both more costly and increasingly difficult for vendors to purchase, sell, move, or store counterfeit products in the United States. We have a responsibility to protect the brand’s core values and further enforce our commitment to this global issue, starting with our home market.
On Coach’s website, customers can read its “counterfeit education” page to learn about the company’s market practices and numbers to call to report counterfeits.
Ever since Operation Turnlock began three years ago, Coach has been racking in the lawsuits.
Last week, Coach went after a Tennessee hair salon for selling counterfeit products, demanding $2 million for each counterfeit or to be reimbursed for the profits.
But the lawsuits don’t just stop at knock-offs: Coach has also sued Target in 2009 for copyright infringement and Jo-Ann’s Fabric in 2011 for creating a fabric that looks like the company’s iconic 'C’s.
WATCH: tips on how to spot fake Coach products
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