Chinese Counterfeit Websites Continue To Operate, But The ABPIA Has Launched A Petition To Stop Them In Their Tracks

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The American Bridal And Prom Industry Association Has Had Enough. It Is Time To Take Action Against Illegal Counterfeit Websites Selling Fake Merchandise To Consumers.

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With the public’s support we can band together and tell the White House that it’s time to put a stop to these websites once and for all." – Steve Lang, ABPIA president and CEO of Mon Cheri Bridals, LLC.

After seeing the illegal counterfeit dress industry grow at an alarming rate year after year, The American Bridal and Prom Industry Association (ABPIA) is taking action. According to the ABPIA, these online counterfeit websites, mostly based out of China, have become multi-million dollar businesses and pose a huge risk to not only thousands of companies in the special occasion dress industry, but to the entire U.S. economy and American consumer base.

According to a USA Today article published in 2014, rogue Chinese websites that mimic well-known retailers attract more than 50 billion visits every year. Those counterfeit goods cost the U.S. economy $250 billion annually. These actions are affecting businesses as well as consumers. More than 750,000 U.S. jobs have been lost due to poorly made counterfeit products coming from assembly lines overseas. Furthermore, these counterfeit operations are often linked to sweatshops using child labor, identity theft, organized crime and terrorism.

According to the ABPIA, these illegal counterfeit websites use copyrighted studio images and trademarked logos to sell cheap, knock­off products posing as original styles. They show up before legitimate, trustworthy sites in Google search results and trick innocent customers into believing they are getting deep discounts on their favorite merchandise. The American Bridal and Prom Industry Association states that each year, American businesses are forced to spend more time, money and resources to combat the sale and import of counterfeit or hazardous products from these overseas countries in this uphill, seemingly endless fight.

In order to put a stop to this growing epidemic, The American Bridal and Prom Industry Association has launched an anti-counterfeiting petition. The ABPIA is requesting the American people to support this petition and help propose a new administration policy to stop illegal overseas websites using proprietary images and aggressive advertising to deceive the public into believing they are purchasing authentic merchandise, when in reality a poorly made forgery is received.

“American businesses -- many of them small and family-owned -- are investing substantial money in the design, marketing, manufacturing, and distribution of special occasion dresses and other products, only to lose millions of dollars in sales to Chinese counterfeiters that deliberately violate U.S. law. This blatant disregard for the law not only negatively impacts our U.S. businesses, costing us good-paying jobs, but also defrauds our consumers and taxpayers, who believe they’re ordering high-quality products from a discount website only to receive shoddy imitations instead.” – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, senior member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, who has joined the fight – taking on knock-off merchandise manufacturers from China.

The ABPIA noted legitimate businesses invest significant resources to produce original images of their products being sold. These counterfeit sites use tactics to take business directly from the hardworking American companies who spend the time and money necessary to follow the rules and regulations. Businesses are losing sales every day to these counterfeiters who are accused of stealing images and trademarks. It is estimated that this costs approximately $300 million in lost revenue per year within the special occasion industry alone.

“The ABPIA is fighting this fight on all fronts in order to protect our American businesses and valuable customers. We have successfully seized thousands of these sites through multiple lawsuits.* We will continue to take any and all appropriate and lawful action, educate consumers and industry members, use technological solutions for mass website takedowns, and lobby governmental entities for new legislation, but even with all of these efforts we can’t fight this fight alone. With the public’s support we can band together and tell the White House that it’s time to put a stop to these websites once and for all." – Steve Lang, ABPIA president and CEO of Mon Cheri Bridals, LLC.

The ABPIA applauds the efforts of several influential Senators and other members of Congress who support the fight against counterfeit goods. ABPIA board members met in June with the Canada Border Services Agency, who sought out the ABPIA to join in the fight. Many companies, both small and large, have taken serious action in the fight against counterfeiting by joining The American Bridal and Prom Industry Association on this petition.

“Counterfeiting has grown to be a global problem. In 2013, the total value of goods seized originating from China reached $1.22 billion dollars. In addition to the hardships on our business and industry, as well as countless other businesses and industries, counterfeiting has devastating negative impact on everyday American people. The entire US e­commerce industry is vulnerable to the threat of foreign counterfeiting not only from the billions of dollars in direct loss of sales and the consequential high expenses defending our brands, but from the American people who no longer feel safe and confident making online purchases.” David Wilkenfeld, CEO of PromGirl.com.

This issue is receiving growing attention from the national press, social media, across TV and the internet. This BuzzFeed article demonstrates why both businesses and consumers alike should be signing this petition. There are many legitimate businesses selling quality products. These businesses work hard to ensure quality and satisfaction for their customers. Everyone needs to be educated and aware of the widespread distribution of counterfeit products through the internet, and with a concerted effort by manufacturers, retailers and consumers, these counterfeiters can be stopped.

About ABPIA:
The American Bridal and Prom Industry Association (ABPIA) is a non-profit organization whose broad-based membership represents the special occasion dress industry in the United States. The 400 plus members include designers, manufacturers, retailers, web sites, sales representatives, apparel marts and media resources. ABPIA’s mission is to protect the bridal and prom industry from counterfeit products, to better educate our consumers in this regard and to provide benefits to members that will help strengthen their profitability.

District Court of New Jersey

  • Case No. 13-4081 (D.N.J.) District Court of New Jersey
  • Case No. 13-4347 (D.N.J.) District Court of New Jersey

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Robyn Stevens
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