Defendants’ assets are frozen in Nike counterfeit lawsuit

March 21, 2023

On Tuesday, Nike’s lawyers will ask for a preliminary injunction against alleged sellers of counterfeit sportswear. A group of online marketplaces at sites like AliExpress and Amazon were accused of trademark infringement and counterfeiting by the sneaker company in an Illinois district court complaint filed in January. With a temporary restraining order secured in February, Nike now seeks a preliminary injunction that will prevent defendants from selling fake Nike product, help its lawyers gather data on them, and freeze their assets.

The lawsuit has been partially hidden from public view, but sealed documents viewed by Complex reveal the long list of defendants and the court’s temporary restraining order.

207 defendants were listed in a sealed document attached to Nike’s complaint when it first filed the suit. According to the company’s lawyers, the defendants are all residents of China and Hong Kong. They claim that if Nike had made their names public before obtaining a restraining order against them, they would have been able to evade justice.

According to the motion to leave the names of defendants under seal, sealing this portion of the file is necessary to prevent the defendants from learning of these proceedings prior to the execution of the temporary restraining order. In the event defendants learned of these proceedings prematurely, it is likely that they would destroy relevant documentary evidence and hide or transfer assets overseas.

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207 online stores are listed as defendants in the sealed file, along with their seller aliases and URLs. The defendants are grouped according to the third-party platforms on which they allegedly sell counterfeit goods-120 from AliExpress, 81 from Amazon, and six from eBay.



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Additionally, Nike’s lawyers submitted last week an exhibit showing each defendant’s email address. According to Complex, two of the defendants have never sold Nike items in their online stores. Nike’s lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.

In February, Nike was granted a sealed temporary restraining order against the defendants. Complex viewed that filing in which the court found that the alleged counterfeit sellers “could and likely would” move their assets to offshore accounts without an order preventing it.

Additionally, the temporary restraining order allows Nike to gather detailed information about the defendants’ business in order to prevent them from passing off fake Nike products as genuine. At Nike’s request, third-party marketplaces like AliExpress and Amazon provide expedited discovery on sellers. Documents pertaining to the defendants’ identities, contact information, sales data, listing history, and financial accounts are included.

Defendants are prohibited from transferring assets out of their financial accounts under the temporary restraining order.As well, it orders the third-party marketplaces they use to locate all funds held by the sellers and prevent them from transferring any money.

The defendants in this case hold most of their assets offshore, a Nike lawyer wrote in a memo supporting the order, “making it easy to hide or dispose of assets.”

Nike’s lawyers said last week that frozen financial accounts associated with seller aliases had been submitted to the court.

Nike now wants to extend its temporary restraining order with a preliminary injunction that it says is substantially the same. The preliminary injunction proposed by Nike would unseal the original list of defendants, the temporary restraining order, and another sealed exhibit. Tuesday morning, the brand’s lawyers will present their motion for entry of a preliminary injunction.

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