Kathrine Baumann is ready to kick some butt. And she wants your help.
Baumann, the Beverly Hills-based designer of haute-couture minaudieres and complementary ladies’ accessories for celebrities and luminaries from all walks of life, is “issuing a call-to-arms to all U.S. jewelry designers, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, and other industry businesses,” in the battle against counterfeiters.
It’s a fight she has taken on herself for the past three years, successfully defending her brand name and original jewelry-studded handbag designs against infringers. Among her victories, in October, 2004, a federal court in New York issued an injunction against a group of Manhattan retailers, barring them from selling counterfeit versions of Kathrine Baumann handbags.
Now Baumann says she wants to share her hard-fought knowledge and experience with other industry owners and executives and spearhead the formation of a new national coalition focused solely on protecting the intellectual property rights of U.S. jewelry designers and manufacturers.
“It’s time for us to take a united stand against counterfeiters,” Baumann says. “Only by banding together as an industry can we gain the muscle needed to stop this global problem and secure our businesses, brands, and products—as well as the future of our families and employees.”
In recent years, product counterfeiting and piracy has escalated dramatically. According to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, intellectual property theft costs U.S. companies an estimated $250 billion in lost sales annually. Worldwide, cross-border sales of counterfeit goods total $450 billion annually, or 6% of total world trade, according to the International Chamber of Commerce.
For manufacturers and designers, the effects of lower cost “knockoffs” flooding the market can be devastating, Baumann says. It includes the loss of legitimate sales and profits, failure to recoup costly research and development investments, and an erosion of the original creator’s brand name and reputation.
“Those who violate our intellectual property rights are taking food right from the mouths of our families and employees,” Baumann says. “They also are stealing the American Dream from every legitimate entrepreneur who painstakingly built their business from scratch through hard work and talent.”
In addition to litigation, Baumann wants the coalition to focus on consumer education about the ramifications of purchasing jewelry knockoffs; and on lobbying Washington and industry officials for tougher sanctions against foreign firms and foreign governments that aren’t doing enough to stop local counterfeiters from knocking off U.S. designs.
Anyone who would like more information can contact Kathrine Baumann at 1-877-BAUMANN; or at firstname.lastname@example.org.