Nearly six decades after her death, Marilyn Monroe is still a popular choice for mugs, T-shirts, jewelry and other products using her name — even illegally.
Authentic Brands Group LLC, which owns the rights to the late movie star’s name and the phrase “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” popularized by her most famous song, has won a court order freezing the assets of dozens of virtual storefronts selling counterfeit goods.
The company said in court documents that it works with marketplaces such as Amazon.com, Alibaba, EBay, Joom and Wish to shut down the sites, but it’s not enough. Court filings lay out an elaborate and often covert operation to identify the counterfeiters, file lawsuits under seal and seek judicial orders before the storefronts knew they were being targeted.
“If it’s suspected that the defendant is operating offshore and you’re operating in the whac-a-mole territory, you have to get creative,” said Anthony Dreyer, a trademark lawyer with the Skadden firm in New York.
Dreyer, who wasn’t involved in this case, specializes in sports and entertainment intellectual property and represents the National Hockey League in suits to shut down counterfeits. Seizing the illicit goods isn’t always possible and doesn’t solve the problem, he said.
“You want to go further up the chain and you want to make it harder for them to do business,” Dreyer said. “The sophistication of varied payment methods makes it harder to freeze the assets and…