Supported by 200,000 Facebook fans and small banner ads on many blogs, Los Angeles-based Melrose.com boasts that it is the “USA’s No. 1 online retailer of luxury wristwatches” — primarily Rolex. Rolex itself is the most valuable and most widely sold watch brand in the world. Rolex also holds another, though far less desirable title: one of the most counterfeited luxury brands in the world. As such Rolex is also known for aggressively protecting its trademark in the court of law, filing more than 280 infringement lawsuits over the last several decades. Unfortunately this effort has proven to be nothing more than a never-ending game of Whac-A-Mole, but that’s no reason to stop defending one of the most valuable marks in the world. And Rolex has again done just that, bringing suit against Melrose.com in what is sure to be a high stakes showdown.
According to a recent LA Times article, Rolex investigators purchased several watches from Melrose.com and found that some contained vintage Rolex parts and counterfeit “crown” trademarks. Rolex then brought suit against Melrose, stating that Melrose is selling counterfeit goods and seeking an injunction that would prohibit the online retailer from including counterfeit parts on Rolex watches or even mentioning Rolex’s brand on its website.
Rolex counsel Brian Brokate who has represented the brand in court for more than twenty years, said:
Most people who are buying the $30 Chinese counterfeit realize what they’re purchasing,” Brokate said. “People buying the product that’s been junked up with after-market products think what they’re buying is genuine and it’s not. When something goes wrong with that watch, who do they blame? They blame Rolex.”
Melrose president Krishan Agarwal vehemently denied that Melrose uses counterfeit parts and asserted his right to sell used, authentic goods:
If you install after-market rims on a Ford Mustang, it doesn’t mean it’s not a Ford Mustang.
A fair point Agarwal makes, though if I were buying a Rolex watch with replaced parts I would want to know so (I’m not sure if Melrose does or does not disclose such facts).
And thus the stage is set for a big showdown. If Melrose is knowingly using counterfeit parts, this is a problem. If unknowingly, then I think it is a different story. With whom do your sympathies lie? Leave a comment below.
Full Story: LA Times