Sherri Hill, a designer of high quality prom dresses and evening gowns, announced that she has won a $2,250,000 judgment and permanent injunction against Defendant Dress Market Limited, a Hong Kong-based dress retailer who had been operating a network of websites peddling cheap knockoff prom and pageant dresses.
Additionally, after the injunction had been entered, the Defendant had committed contempt of court by defiantly re-posting Sherri Hill's copyrighted images. In addition to imposing monetary damages, the Court ultimately ordered that all eight domain names and websites operated by the Defendant be completely shut down and transferred to Sherri Hill.
In the original Complaint filed in federal court in Manhattan in August 2013, Sherri Hill had accused Dress Market Limited of selling hundreds of Sherri Hill dresses through multiple websites, including MerleDress.com.
The complaint alleged that, by using Sherri Hill's copyrighted images, Dress Market Limited deliberately confused consumers into thinking they were getting the same style and quality products, when the actual quality of the dresses was much lower. Several dresses had been shipped to investigators in New York City by Dress Market's employees, according to court papers.
The Defendant's lawyers unsuccessfully sought to have the case dismissed, arguing that the U.S. federal courts lacked personal jurisdiction over the Defendant, because Dress Market was operating its business entirely out of China and Hong Kong.
The Court ultimately overruled Dress Market's objections, finding that the sale and shipment of several dresses to the New York investigators, along with the unauthorized display of the copyrighted images to New York consumers, were sufficient activities to warrant granting U.S. federal courts jurisdiction over the allegedly infringing conduct occurring in China.
After the preliminary ruling, Dress Market's lawyers then sought to formally withdraw, claiming that the Defendant had ceased communicating with them entirely.
The federal lawsuit, which was filed by the New York-based brand protection law firm the Gioconda Law Group PLLC, successfully sought the statutory damages and a permanent injunction.