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30.10.2017

How did the Excel brand sell fragrances at the expense of the reputation of major brands?

"IMITATION CAN VERY WELL BE A SINCERE FORM OF FLATTERY, BUT IF YOU GO TOO FAR, IT CAN ALSO CAUSE BIG LOSSES" - THIS IS ONE OF THE FIRST LINES OF JUDGE JESSE FURMAN'S DECISION FROM THE US DISTRICT COURT IN THE CASE BETWEEN COTY, INC AND EXCELL BRANDS.

Serenity instead of Eternity, Possession instead of Obsession, or simply "Our version of Euphoria from Calvin Klein", these and other names are the names that Excell sells trying to capitalize on the success of the famous flavors from Calvin Klein, Chloe, Marc Jacobs, Burberry and Coty. In addition to using similar product names, Excell uses packages that are almost identical to the packages of well-known companies in order to further mislead and provoke consumers to purchase their goods.

For these reasons, in 2015 Coty, Inc filed a lawsuit against Excell. Coty, Inc also provided evidence that Excell had been often using the phrase "Our version" on its packages while indicating a well-known brand of cosmetics or perfumes (it is noteworthy that the name of the product took up much more space on the package). The Excell company was selling all of its goods through retailers such as Kmart, Dollar General, Ross Stores and Amazon.

Now, after three years of litigation, the Coty, Inc can celebrate a significant victory in the federal court of New York. The court ordered the Excell company to pay $ 6.5 million for damages as well as stop selling similar products. Judge Jesse Furman noted that "the Excell‘s products copy with the little difference everything from the name and font to the colors and shapes of the bottles". Also, according to the judge, the use of Coty‘s brands by Excell could damage the reputation of the Coty, Inc, since the flavors that were sold by the Excell company were of lower quality than Coty‘s ones.

Although the Coty, Inc won the court, they did not get everything they asked for in the lawsuit. The court denied additional monetary penalties for counterfeit products. Therefore, it remains only to speculate whether $ 6.5 million was enough to recover all the damages for these years.

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