WWE Files Lawsuit Against 200 Fake Merchandise Sellers
New Orleans has long enjoyed distinction as The Big Easy, but parties who had been hoping to apply their own take on that title by selling bogus goods in conjunction with Wrestlemania 34 suffered a setback Tuesday. As the overseer of the Louisiana-situated extravaganza, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) secured an injunction against a combination of 200 individuals and corporations so as to keep them from peddling knockoff products.
One could definitely insert a joke here about how the business entity that many critique as offering contrived enjoyment is going after people who profit off deceptive items, but WWE has every right to look to impede their efforts. District Judge Jane Milazzo agreed, granting the Connecticut-based media and entertainment company protection through April 11.
Through a 23-page lawsuit filed March 26, the WWE called on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana to halt “trademark infringement, dilution and unfair competition occasioned by Defendants’ unlawful manufacture, distribution and/or sale of counterfeit merchandise bearing unauthorized copies of WWE’s registered and unregistered trademarks and service marks,” adding that it had initiated legal assistance since it contends it sells goods “of the highest quality and grade,” seeks to keep the “consuming public” from the defendants’ deception, desires to retain control over the “substantial goodwill” associated with its marks and wants to avoid “thousands of irretrievably lost sales.”
That quartet led Milazzo to issue an order that the World Intellectual Property Review states is instructing federal, state and local law enforcement officers to seize the false merchandise, which includes caps, DVDs, posters, T-shirts and masks, and to detain sellers of those items. The WWE is a highly lucrative enterprise and thus saw fit to devote a section of its gripe to counterfeiting incidents at other Wrestlemania renditions, with the explanations not only solidifying its claim that it has often fallen prey to spurious merchants but also providing the court with an explanation of safety concerns involved in this questionable way to make a buck (or thousands in this case).
In the latter regard, WWE is doing much more than seeking to ensure its bank accounts do not suffer, and that is a very altruistic measure, especially since consumers, not willing to pay what are often exorbitant prices to buy licensed products, frequently feel they are the recipients of a drama-free deal when doing business with street vendors. Returning to an earlier point, one can snicker over the move by WWE to stifle those whose livelihood depends on duping people, but while it can be easy to dismiss the authenticity of a piledriver or a camel clutch, nobody will ever dispute the risk, albeit minimal, perhaps, that phony items’ components can present.
With Milazzo’s announcement, WWE, like other entertainment providers, appears to have pinned those with less-than-honest intentions. We know, though, that counterfeiters abound and will never submit to adherence to the law to sustain their practice, meaning WWE and other businesses will always need to dole out sizable retainers to protect their brands.