Have you ever searched for a handbag or a pair of jeans from a brand, only to find Google suggesting suspicious URLs along the lines of cheapoutletbagsuk.com? Welcome to the Wild West of cybersquatting, where counterfeiters use brand names in their internet domain names to fool unsuspecting customers who think they're getting a good deal on the real thing.
Diesel is one company trying to reclaim their name from these online frauds – it's filed a lawsuit seeking about $300 million in damages from nine individuals believed to be selling fake goods through a network of 83 unathorised sites.
"The unlawful use of Diesel trademarks to sell counterfeit goods through various retail websites around the world injures our customers who think they are buying a Diesel-quality product,” says Diesel founder and president Renzo Rosso. "These websites damage the brand's reputation and goodwill, hindering the distinctiveness of authentic Diesel products’ trademark quality and craftsmanship."
The sites that are attempting to trade off Diesel's name are pretty unapologetically obvious about it; PambiancoNews identifies a few examples as buydieseljeans.net and dieseljeansoutletuk.com, both of which have now been taken down. According to the brand, sites like these have sold thousands of replicas of their products.
Claims against cybersquatters is on the rise, and Diesel isn't the only one going after these brand weasels – Chanel and Adidas have all sued cybersquatters in the past, while Tory Burch was awarded $164 million in a landmark 2011 case against a group of counterfeiters.