California Court Orders Amazon to Send Notice to 20,000 Consumers of Allegedly Counterfeit InStyler® Hair Iron

A California court has ordered online retailing giant Amazon to notice more than 20,000 consumers who may have purchased counterfeit versions of the popular InStyler® rotating iron through the Amazon website. The order came as part of a lawsuit brought by InStyler manufacturer Tre Milano, which alleges that Amazon knowingly distributed counterfeits to unsuspecting customers who believed that they were buying genuine InStylers.

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According to Tre Milano’s CEO, David Richmond, “Based on court documents, our counsel calculates that the order will apply to more than 18,000 ‘fulfillment by Amazon’ and third-party sales and over 2,000 ‘direct’ Amazon sales.”

Los Angeles/Culver City, CA (PRWEB) July 24, 2012

A California court has ordered online retailing giant Amazon to notice more than 20,000 consumers who may have purchased counterfeit versions of the popular InStyler® rotating iron through the Amazon website. The order came as part of a lawsuit brought by InStyler manufacturer Tre Milano, which alleges that Amazon knowingly distributed counterfeits to unsuspecting customers who believed that they were buying genuine InStylers. Through the order, consumers will be informed of the increased risk of product failure and personal injury associated with counterfeit consumer goods. (Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. BC460511.)

The court order applies to consumers who placed orders for the InStyler through certain merchants supplying goods through the “Fulfillment by Amazon” program, certain third-party merchants using the Amazon.com website, as well as certain orders placed directly with Amazon. A copy of the court order is available for download here: http://www.counterfeitinstylerinformation.com/discoveryorder.pdf.

According to Tre Milano’s CEO, David Richmond, “Based on court documents, our counsel calculates that the order will apply to more than 18,000 ‘fulfillment by Amazon’ and third-party sales and over 2,000 ‘direct’ Amazon sales.”

Consumers who suspect that they may have obtained a counterfeit InStyler through Amazon are encouraged to contact Tre Milano through a special email address (counterfeit(at)getinstyler(dot)com) or a toll-free telephone number (800-619-3881) established in connection with the court order. More information is available at: http://www.CounterfeitInStylerInformation.com.

Court records and sworn statements gathered by Tre Milano demonstrate the sale of thousands of counterfeit InStylers by and through the Amazon.com website. In fact, according to court papers, Tre Milano confiscated nearly three hundred (300) counterfeit InStylers from an active Amazon merchant against whom the company has obtained a federal court judgment.

In its court pleadings, the company alleges that it was forced to bring the litigation because Amazon refused to act in response to Tre Milano’s ongoing complaints about the widespread sale of counterfeit InStylers via Amazon. According to testimony and court documents, Tre Milano even received a counterfeit InStyler when its investigator made a ‘test buy’ directly from Amazon.com, as opposed Amazon’s third-party sellers and suppliers.

In court papers, Tre Milano alleges that the company has routinely sent notices to Amazon regarding specific suppliers of counterfeit InStylers but that Amazon has continued to sell, advertise or distribute counterfeits for as long as three months (and in one case, over a year-and-a-half) after receiving such notice. Tre Milano alleges that the rampant sale of counterfeit InStylers via Amazon not only costs the company direct sales, but that the problem is exacerbated when unsuspecting Amazon customers then attribute the shoddy quality of their counterfeits to the genuine InStyler, and proceed to post reviews reflecting their poor experience with the inferior fake product.

According to court records, counterfeit appliances endanger the safety of the consuming public. Tre Milano has provided sworn statements that the genuine InStyler operates through the sophisticated calibration of electrical, electronic and mechanical components, and that the appliance has obtained product safety certification from ETL® and conforms to UL® and CSA specifications. In court papers, Tre Milano alleges that counterfeit products carry no such assurances, and that it filed the lawsuit in the immediate aftermath of an Amazon consumer being injured by a counterfeit InStyler, purchased through the Amazon website, which exploded in her hand.

According to court documents, Tre Milano maintains a tightly-controlled distribution chain so that consumers can buy with confidence through the company’s authorized retail network (http://www.instyler.com/retailers.html). In court papers, the company alleges that, in contrast, Amazon’s practices underscore the danger of buying from an unauthorized retail outlet.

Tre Milano asserts in court papers that arguments that the online retailer operates as an innocent “marketplace” similar to eBay should ultimately fail for several reasons. First, unlike eBay, Amazon is not simply a marketplace, but a retailer and distributor, with many alleged counterfeits coming directly from Amazon warehouses. Second, unlike sites such as Craigslist or eBay, which require sellers to provide their own photos and advertising copy for each listing, Amazon itself creates and maintains the “product page” from which each transaction is initiated. Tre Milano maintains that this is a use of the federally-registered InStyler® trademark which, “in connection with the sale, offering for sale, distribution or advertising” of counterfeit products, may render Amazon liable for direct trademark infringement under the plain language of the federal Lanham Act.

Separately in the case, the Los Angeles court entered judgment against an individual merchant responsible for distributing nearly eight hundred counterfeit InStyler units for “fulfillment by Amazon.” A copy of the judgment is available for download here: http://www.counterfeitinstylerinformation.com/bainsjudgement.pdf.

About Tre Milano/InStyler:

Tre Milano is the force behind a line of innovative hair care appliances, including the revolutionary InStyler® Rotating Hot Iron (http://www.instyler.com), a styling and straightening tool distinguished by its rotating heated polishing cylinder, along with four rows of precision-aligned bristles. More information is available at the company’s website or through its FaceBook page (http://www.facebook.com/instylerhair), YouTube channel (http://www.Youtube.com/InStylerhair) or Twitter feed (twitter.com/instylerhair).

A list of authorized retailers selling authentic InStyler Rotating Hot Irons can be found at: http://www.instyler.com/retailers.html.

For interview requests and additional information, Tre Milano may be reached through Marchesa Favara at marchesa(at)instyler(dot)com or by telephone at (310) 260-8888.

The case Tre Milano, LLC v. Amazon.com, Inc., et al. is currently pending before the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles, under Case No. BC460511. An appeal concerning a requested injunction in the case is currently pending before the Court of Appeal of the State of California, Second Appellate District, Division Seven, under Case No. B234753.

Tre Milano is represented by Thomas Peistrup and Michael Adler at the law firm Tantalo & Adler LLP in Los Angeles. For inquiries relating to the case, counsel may be reached by email at tpeistrup(at)ta-llp(dot)com or by telephone at (310) 228-1138.


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