Jeweller has discovered that Australian-based websites are openly selling counterfeit watches and jewellery from well known brands underneath the guise of “replicas”.
Investigations by Jeweller established that the local website – SwissReplicaWatches – sells exact copies of famous brands including Tag Heuer, Breitling, Omega and replica Hermes Jewelry.
The website is registered to your company called Brantley Pty Ltd and Australian Securities and Investments Commission records show the corporation as having two, Sri Lankan-born, directors; Kristiaan Martenstyn and Peduru Jayalath.
The registered address of Melbourne-based Brantley Pty Ltd is Unit 1508, 18 Waterview Walk, Docklands along with the website lists a phone number as 61 414 015 405 and helps to make the following claims; “We are Australia’s #1 Replica Watch Retailer, 1 Year FULL Replacement Warranty, 7 Day Risk-Free Money-Back Guarantee.”
Last week Jeweller contacted Martenstyn, who confirmed that the company had been operating for a couple of years but claimed his actions failed to breach any Australian or international laws. He went in terms of describing his business as operating within a necessary industry because consumers demand the product.
“I wouldn’t consider it counterfeiting,” Martenstyn said, adding that his products were “high-end replicas” produced in Geneva, Switzerland. Interestingly SwissReplicaWatches.com.au states, “We refuse to dodgy ‘fakes’ from Asia.”
In accordance with intellectual property expert Lisa Egan, a senior associate at law office Middletons, assessing whether item is counterfeit is very straight-forward.
“If an organization is employing brand names with no authority [constitute the brand owner] then it’s probably going to be a trademark infringement,” she said, adding that selling exact copies is also a “design infringement”.
Egan confirmed that this term “replica” was incorrect – copies carrying a brand’s logo are classified as “counterfeit” goods.
Martenstyn justified his operation by claiming the internet site “helps” the wrist watch brands.
“People who order from us, they are not likely to find the original, therefore it doesn’t directly impact the trademark owners. In fact, it will help them,” he stated.
Egan said really the only reason the website could remain online was if none of the affected brands had taken action.
“It’s approximately the people who own the brands to adopt action against it and possess that content removed,” she said.
Martenstyn claimed he had never been contacted by any of the brands featured on his website.
“We’ve never actually had any issues at all. When we would have any kind of issues with the trademark holders we have been delighted to try to meet a resolution,” he explained.
The blatant nature of the operations raises questions regarding why the websites are allowed to remain online australia wide, because of the potential damage caused on the brands’ reputation and integrity.
Interestingly, Rolex managing director Richard De Leyser said he was mindful of the website.
He refused to reply to the challenge any more, but said: “We take any infringement of the copyright very seriously.”
Martenstyn said he would continue operating the web site provided that his business was profitable.
desire to purchase such goods, that’s once we wouldn’t supply them any longer.”
Instead of having a low-key approach, further investigations reveal the organization looks to be ramping up its operations, having recently advertised for 2 customer satisfaction representatives.
“We are searching for two new members to join our dedicated and friendly team that specialises in supplying high-end luxury goods like jewellery, timepieces and paintings,” the internet advertisement reads.
Egan said you will find a number of steps companies might take to shield their intellectual property from online counterfeiters.
“The first port of call is always to send a letter to the operator of the website,” she said, adding that Google may also be contacted to possess a website excluded from search results.
“I think brands should be really vigilant in monitoring these web sites. It’s really in regards to the brands going for a proactive stance and making sure they’ve got their brand appropriately protected,” she said.
Martenstyn stressed that he or she had not been contacted by some of the brand owners about his website and added, in a interesting twist of logic, he believes that his business activity is legal because no one had contacted him to say it wasn’t.
He added that his legal services is the fact that he or she is not in breach in the law.
Moreover, a disclaimer on SwissReplicaWatches.com.au states the brands “cannot prosecute any individual(s) connected to this website”, citing code 431.322.12 of your Internet Privacy Act.
A lot more online retailers display similar disclaimers, all citing code 431.322.12 of your Internet Privacy Act.
Another Australian website, which offers fake van cleef alhambra necklace labelled jewellery cites exactly the same code, stating: “Any person representing or formally used by some of the brands offered cannot enter this amazing site. … If you enter this page and never agree to these terms you might be in violation of code 431.322.12 of dexipky14 Internet Privacy Act.”
In addition to the fact that an extensive disclaimer like this would not accepted with a court, Jeweller’s research might find no proof of the presence of the, so-called, Internet Privacy Act. It is apparently a disclaimer used by lots of counterfeit websites in an attempt to deter legal action.
Jeweller emailed Martenstyn asking, “The Terms & Conditions area of your internet site refers to the “Internet Privacy Act”. We could find no such Act, are you able to direct us with it?”
Martenstyn was also asked whether he agreed that this product his business sold was counterfeit considering the fact that it carries the logos of popular brands.