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Rolex Sues Melrose Jewelers for Counterfeiting, Trademark Infringement

Agarwal Vows to Vehemently Defend the Charges

Aug 9, 2012 3:55 PM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT... Rolex sued Melrose Jewelers (melrose.com) on a number of actions related to counterfeiting and trademark infringement. According to Rolex,  which secured three watches from the retailer for its case between February and June, the defendant uses ''spurious designations that are identical with, or substantially indistinguishable from, the Rolex, Crown Device, DateJust and Oyster Perpetual trademarks, and possibly other Rolex registered trademarks, on the counterfeit watches and/or watch parts they sell.''

Rolex also alleged that Melrose intentionally used websites to promote sales, ''knowing they are counterfeit, in connection with the advertisement, promotion, offering for sale and sale of counterfeit watches and watch parts.''

Melrose.com  claims that it acquires authentic luxury timepieces to sell online. Besides offering the Rolex brand, the company also sells  Breitling, Cartier, Tag Heuer  and Omega  along with custom diamond jewelry. It claims that revenue in 2011 was more than $10 million. The company's president, Krishan Agarwal, told the Los Angeles Times this morning that Melrose.com sells "preowned" watches and restores Rolex watches among others but it does not include counterfeit parts with those repairs. He said the company "will be vehemently defending the lawsuit and our right to resell used authentic goods."

In court papers filed July 25, Rolex charged that Melrose.com used the Rolex registered trademarks to advertise and promote ''counterfeit watches'' in a manner which was likely to cause consumer confusion and deception since Rolex's products were not  authorized, sanctioned, or affiliated with the retailer.  Rolex concluded that the defendant's  actions constituted false designations of origin for commerce, false descriptions and unfair competition because such designations and representations tend to falsely describe and/or represent the defendant's counterfeit watches and watch parts as those of Rolex in violation of the Lanham Act, according to the suit.

Additionally, Rolex alleged that Melrose.com owns and operates six parking sites (websites) rolexgiveaway.ca, rolexblogsite.com, rolexblogsite.net, rolexwatchforum.com, rolexwatchforum.net, rolexwatchforums.com and rolexwatchforums, that  incorporate the Rolex trademark to specifically provide links and drive traffic to Melrose.com, none of which are authorized by Rolex.

Rolex is seeking an  injunction, ordering Melrose.com to refrain from using any reproduction, counterfeit, copy or colorable imitation of the Rolex trademarks to identify any goods or the rendering of any services not authorized by Rolex. Furthermore, Rolex seeks to prevent action that would likely to cause consumer confusion, deception or mistake, or injury to its business reputation or dilute its trademarks; prevent false description or representation including words or other symbols tending to falsely describe or represent  unauthorized goods as being those of Rolex; any end the  use of the Rolex trademarks online in any form, from meta tags and keyword buys  to images and domains.

The watch brand  seeks statutory damages of up to $2 million  for each trademark that the defendants have counterfeited, damages due to ''cybersquatting of the Rolex trademark and to account for all gains, profits and advantages therefrom derived.'' Alternatively, Rolex seeks damages for  of up to $100,000 per domain name, the costs and disbursements of the legal action,  attorney and investigator fees and prejudgment interest along with punitive damages.

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Tags: Jeff Miller, lawsuit, melrosejewelers, Rolex, trademark
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Rolex Counterfeit?
Aug 10, 2012 12:42PM    By James Sadilek
To avoid possible confusion on the part of the reader, Rolex considers any Rolex watch that has been fitted with a non-genuine, i.e., generic part, for example a mainspring, to be counterfeit. It will be interesting to see if this definition of "counterfeit" holds up in court, since Rolex severely restricts access to genuine parts, which leaves many independent watchmakers no choice but to use generic parts if they wish to repair Rolex watches. What's next? Rolex filing suit against the generic parts makers and suppliers for counterfeiting?
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