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Fear of God Goes After Alleged Counterfeit Sites

Fear of God is taking aim at alleged counterfeit websites that it claims are deploying techniques to throw brands and enforcers off their trail.

In a trademark and counterfeit suit filed this month in federal court in Illinois, the luxury apparel brand targeted a number of websites that Fear of God claimed operate in China, and whose operating names it indicated only in a sealed document filed in the court. The complaint alleges that the websites mimic the appearance of wholesale and other legitimate resale websites to sell alleged counterfeits and products infringing the Fear of God trademarks.

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The e-commerce sites also use strategies to conceal their real identities, including by using multiple profiles and falsely using the Fear of God name on their sites, the suit claimed. On the back-end, they use off-shore accounts to keep profits out of reach of lawsuits and law enforcement in the U.S., according to the complaint.

“Tactics used by defendants to conceal their identities and the full scope of their operation make it virtually impossible for plaintiff to learn defendants’ true identities and the exact interworking of their counterfeit network,” the complaint said. “If defendants provide additional credible information regarding their identities, plaintiff will take appropriate steps to amend the complaint.

“Counterfeiters such as defendants typically operate under multiple seller aliases and payment accounts so that they can continue operation in spite of plaintiff’s enforcement efforts,” the complaint said. “On information and belief, defendants maintain off-shore bank accounts and regularly move funds from their financial accounts to off-shore bank accounts outside the jurisdiction of this court to avoid payment of any monetary judgment awarded to plaintiff.”

The suit makes claims for trademark infringement and counterfeiting, and for false designation of origin, for allegedly misleading customers about the authenticity of alleged counterfeit Fear of God apparel.

In addition to the complaint, the company asked the court to grant a temporary restraining order to halt the sale and import of the products.

“The entry of a [temporary restraining order] is appropriate because it would immediately stop the defendants from benefiting from their wrongful use of the Fear of God trademarks and preserve the status quo until a hearing can be held,” the company said in a filing.

“In the absence of a [temporary restraining order] without notice, the defendants can and likely will register new e-commerce stores under new aliases and move any assets to off-shore bank accounts outside the jurisdiction of this court,” the company wrote.

Fear of God was founded in 2013 by Jerry Lorenzo and has become a notable luxury streetwear and accessories brand worn by celebrities, the company said.