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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Bowling Green store part of federal purse lawsuit

  •   A Bowling Green store is one of two Missouri retailers accused of selling counterfeit handbags in a case that stretches across the nation.

     


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  •   A Bowling Green store is one of two Missouri retailers accused of selling counterfeit handbags in a case that stretches across the nation.
       DiDi’s & GiGi’s Purse Strings N’ Things on the Bowling Green square is named in a federal trademark infringement lawsuit filed by Coach Inc. of New York.
       The store and another retail outlet in St. Louis are accused of selling counterfeit merchandise. The lawsuit is part of a nationwide effort by Coach to strike back at the lucrative market for knock-offs of name-brand handbags and accessories.
       Coach is seeking $2 million in damages and asking that defendants be ordered to pay profits made from the sales, as well as costs and attorney’s fees.
       “We really have a zero tolerance policy on counterfeits,” said Nancy Axilrod, Coach associate general counsel.
       Coach claims DiDi’s had about 40 counterfeit handbags when a company investigator visited the store last April. The person was sold one for $64. Legitimate bags of the same type go for more than $300.
       DiDi’s owner Rosie Brock declined a Courier-Post request for an interview. However, she told the St. Louis Post Dispatch that the Coach logo purses had been bought at a sale earlier this year at a St. Louis flea market.
       Brock told the newspaper she did not know the items were counterfeit, but that the business no longer sold them.
       “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is,” Axilrod said. “The only way you can be sure that you’re getting Coach products is from Coach or from an authorized Coach location.”
       The 69-year-old retailer began what it calls “Operation Turnlock” in May 2009 in an effort to stop counterfeiters.
       So far, more than 260 lawsuits have been filed. The other Missouri store named as part of the latest round of legal action was FYI Trading Co. of St. Louis. The company also has sued flea markets and cities that license them.
       A hearing on the case in U.S. District Court had not been set. Coach has set up a telephone hotline to report suspected counterfeit merchandise. The number is 1-877-7887-65625.
       The Courier-Post tried the number and it was answered by a voice message.
     

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