All All Industry Insights Industry News Media Release Member Only Articles NRA Events NRA Legal NRA Partners NRA Projects NRA Training and Development Policy & Advocacy Policy Updates Technology Tenancy & Leasing Testimonials Thought Leaders Weekly CEO Update WHS Update

Message from the CEO, Dominique Lamb: 29 May 2018

May 29, 2018

The old adage, fake it till you make it, tends not to apply to those cheap wares that are undeniably similar to ones from some of the world’s biggest luxury brands.

British fashion house Burberry has this week lodged in New York a whopper lawsuit against Target for allegedly selling copycat Burberry wares, after it ignored a cease-and-desist letter last year.

Knockoffs are pretty much a given for the really big luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, as it’s all but impossible to get a handle on the oodles of offshore manufacturers sending oodles of cheap (and let’s face it, not great!) fakes around the world. And because there’s always a market of buyers.

But when it comes to the big players like Target (a little different from street stands aimed at passing tourists!), does this kind of counterfeiting warrant the exorbitant sums of cash needed to take them to court?

Some arguments focus on the fact that those buying goods in the Target price range would be unlikely to have the capacity to buy the real thing, so there’s no direct effect on the luxury brands’ retail sales.

But what about these brands’ star power? That rarity, exclusivity, and that sense of status and personal branding that people are really buying into, when they drop enough cash for a small car on a luxury handbag?

Particularly amid the current logo and monogram-mania, cheap knockoffs can do some serious damage to a brand’s reputation.

When a luxury monogram or logo that’s been around for decades is seen over and over again on torn and worn, poor quality handbags, it becomes associated with being cheap and common. Especially to the small percentage of buyers who can afford them. And that’s when it does have a direct effect on their retail sales.

The more of the product there is, the worse it gets, hence why having big retailers peddling copycat wares can be so dangerous.

It’s filed several lawsuits over the past few years for trademark infringement, including against JC Penney to T.K. Maxx (these were settled out of court), and is likely to have sent its fair share of successful cease-and-desist notices, where retailers have complied and pulled the allegedly offending products.

It’s now seeking an injunction barring Target from selling infringing products, such as scarves, sunglasses, luggage, stainless-steel water bottles it says have close imitations or are courterfeits of the Burberry check trademark.

The iconic fashion house is asking $2 million for each trademark counterfeited, plus legal costs, and it could become a very expensive case for Target if it loses.

Burberry has also made the valid point that given Target’s legitimate (and paid!) collaborations with designers to create limited-edition diffusion lines, there’s a risk consumers will be confused and assume this is the case with these products. 

Its lawsuit says the misuse of the trademark check has “…diluted the distinctiveness of the famous Burberry Check Trademark.” 

There’s a great lesson here from Burberry – whether it’s an almost century-old check pattern, or something far simpler, like the way a particular barista remembers everyone’s names and coffee orders (miraculous by the way), a retailer’s value lies squarely in the things that make them unique, special and memorable.

None of which can be created by copying what makes someone else special.

Find your own uniqueness, play to your own strengths, and embrace your own retail path!

Have a great week.

Dominique Lamb, CEO. 

NRA Media

  • National Retail Association strengthens support for members on leasing and tenancy
    June 01, 2021

    We are pleased to have strengthened our partnership with Lpc Cresa, a leading advisor to retail tenants across Australia and New Zealand, to assist our…

    Read More
    September 03, 2018

    To download the nomination form, click here

    Read More
  • Closing Loopholes Bill No. 2 passes Parliament 
    February 20, 2024

    Earlier this month, it was confirmed that both Houses of Parliament passed the second tranche of amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) under…

    Read More
  • Jump start your business for 2021 and step ahead of the competition
    November 20, 2020

    2020 has undoubtedly been one of the most challenging years for all of us. It has created unprecedented trends in every industry, and shown retailers…

    Read More
  • NRA members winners in new partnership with Aussie Broadband
    November 16, 2020

    You must be logged in to view this content.

    Read More

What our clients say

Want to chat?
Contact our team today!