The last of several court judgments barring gray market trafficking in watches with the Franck Muller trademark was issued in December 2007. The ruling affected 11 retailers and owners that operate in Manhattan’s Diamond District. Franck Muller USA is the exclusive authorized importer and wholesale distributor of Swiss luxury Franck Muller watches in the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean.
Court orders issued by Federal District Court Judge Alvin Heller-stein during 2007 represent the successful resolution of a lawsuit Franck Muller USA brought early last year. It alleged that the retailers engaged in trademark infringement and unfair competition by importing and distributing gray market Franck Muller watches. (Gray market watches are those imported and distributed outside a company’s authorized distribution network.)
Since 2005, FMUSA has obtained court orders and agreements barring 28 corporate and individual defendants from selling its watches in the gray market. The firm also successfully shut down four watch lines that infringed on FMUSA’s trademarks.
FMUSA is expanding its geographical scope to all major retail centers and the Internet, say its attorneys. A sweep of Internet-based counterfeiters has already led to the shutdown of several infringing Web sites and the removal of fake Franck Muller watches from other sites.