Gucci and Facebook filed a joint lawsuit in California this month against a counterfeiter.
Facebook, Inc. and Gucci America, Inc. v. Natalia Kokhtenko, 3:21-cv-03036 (N.D. Cal.)
This lawsuit was covered by the media and is said to be the first of its kind [a suit for trademark infringement and trademark counterfeiting] by both companies to crack down against online sellers of counterfeit goods.
Natalia Kokhtenko is based in Russia and operates numerous websites to allegedly sell counterfeit brand label designer brand label goods, in particular Gucci. The websites use the extension “.ru” to indicate Russia (9brends-msk.ru, luxprimer.ru are examples).
Kokhtenko promotes the sale of counterfeit goods on Facebook and Instagram and by doing so violates the social media’s terms of service and their prohibition against “that infringes or violates someone else’s rights, including their intellectual property rights . . .”
The April 22nd front page news story of the Wall Street Journal reported that Pfizer had identified counterfeit versions of the Covid-19 vaccine in Mexico and Poland. The counterfeit doses were seized by authorities in separate investigations in the two countries.
The global vaccination campaign, which includes the German-US BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine, is unfortunately attracting fraudsters out to profit from the great demand. The fake Mexican vaccine did not harm anyone, while the Polish vaccine is believed to be an anti-wrinkle treatment. Polish authorities said no one received the counterfeit doses which were seized at a man’s apartment.
This is not the first instance of someone trying to cash in on fake Covid-19 vaccines. In January, 2021, a man in Redmond, Washington State, who claimed to be a biotech expert was arrested for introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce that he injected into as many as one-hundred people by falsely claiming it was Covid-19 vaccine. He charged patients from $400 to $1,000. Authorities have yet to determine what was injected.
Consumer fraud rose almost 27 percent over 2019 due in large part to fraud connected to Covid-19. The Federal Trade Commission has allocated over $30 million to fight consumer fraud that use the pandemic to victimize the public. Federal authorities recently seized three websites that supposedly represented biotech companies developing Covid19 treatments but were actually engaged in obtaining personal information. 3M recently filed a lawsuit against a Florida company that allegedly sold tens of thousands of counterfeit 3M masks. These are only a few of the frauds involving Covid19.