Designer clothing, worth tens of thousands of euro, is set to be destroyed after a court ruled a Limerick retailer breached the Trademark Act by selling the clothes without the permission of the manufacturer.
In one of the first cases of its kind in Limerick, US clothing giant Abercrombie & Fitch successfully sued McGazz Ltd which operates a small shop at the Milk Market.
During a lengthy hearing, Judge Aeneas McCarthy was told that more than 800 items of clothing were seized at the store on June 13, last after the company was granted a court order.
Brendan Considine, a private investigator hired by the Ohio based company, told the court he had conducted a “test purchase” on May 26, last and that he was subsequently informed that the item of clothing was genuine and had been bought in the United States.
He said Abercrombie & Fitch is “very protective of its brand” and that it does not allow any third party to sell its clothing.
Peter Clein BL, representing Abercrombie & Fitch, said his client only sells its clothing in stores which it owns and operates. He told the court the company is due to open its first store in Ireland next month.
Conor Twomey of McGazz said he bought the clothes at Abercrombie & Fitch outlet stores in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
He told the court he had posted them to Limerick and that he had paid excise duty and tax on them.
“These goods are absolutely 100% genuine and legal,” he said adding that he has never bought or sold counterfeit goods at the store.
“I understand that they (Abercrombie & Fitch) don’t like me and don’t want me selling them because I am competition and I do sell their goods at lower prices then they do,” he said.
Mr Clein submitted that the actions of Mr Twomey were “detrimental to the character and trademark” of Abercrombie & Fitch because the company only sells its clothing through its own network of stores.
After hearing the case, Judge McCarthy said the law was on the side of the company and he granted an order for the destruction of the clothing seized.
The company rejected a proposal from Brian McInerney BL, representing McGazz, that the clothing be donated to charity instead of being destroyed.
The judge commented that such an order may also be in breach of the Trademark Act.