Outdoor apparel brand Patagonia has filed a lawsuit against Nordstrom for allegedly selling “thousands” of counterfeit Patagonia items. The complaint, filed with a California federal court, states that the counterfeit items are being sold in Nordstrom Rack stores, The Fashion Law reports. Nordstrom was previously an authorized Patagonia dealer for many years, but no longer has that authorization. Patagonia claims this has added to the problem by confusing consumers who were used to buying authentic Patagonia apparel at Nordstrom. According to Patagonia, the counterfeit apparel contains trademarks identical to the company’s logo artwork and trademark. Additionally, the garments themselves are identical to Patagonia shirts, Patagonia claims.
Total Retail’s Take: More often associated with online marketplaces, counterfeit merchandise is a growing problem for brands that choose to sell their products via third parties. The sale of counterfeit goods presents multiple problems for the impacted brand, including lost sales from being undercut on price; degradation of brand reputation; lost time and resources spent trying to mitigate counterfeit merchandise being available; among others. Patagonia is proactive in protecting its brand and trademark products, having previously sued Gap Inc. over fleece pullover designs that the brand said amounted to trademark infringement. This is just one more reason why brands are increasingly selling their products direct to consumer in lieu of third-party marketplaces, as the DTC model provides them with greater control over the entire experience.