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US Authorities Close Down Les Mills Counterfeiters

US Authorities Close Down Les Mills Counterfeiters
December 29, 2009

In cooperation with US Federal authorities, Les Mills International (LMI) has broken up a North Carolina-based group that traded in counterfeit versions of its group fitness trademarks and resources.

As LMI Chief Executive Jill Tattersall explains, "we took this action to protect the interests of all of our partners around the world â our agents, club licensees, licensed instructors and consumers.

"All of our partners and our consumers deserve the peace of mind of knowing that any product or service bearing the LES MILLS® brand is delivered with the highest standards of support, training and quality control. Counterfeit products undermine the quality of our brand."

Members of the North Carolina-based group admitted to illegally copying, selling and distributing counterfeit LES MILLS® instructor resources (including music CDs, DVDs and other items) since at least 2007.

They also admitted that they engaged in this illegal activity both in the USA and internationally and provided the names of individuals in the United States, United Kingdom and the Netherlands who assisted them.

When two cease-and-desist letters did not stop the group's activities, Les Mills started legal action in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, winning orders to seize counterfeit goods and records and immediately stop the counterfeiting.

A search warrant of the groupâs premises was executed in March 2009, with US Federal Marshalls seizing a large amount of counterfeit Les Mills® instructor materials and a hard drive containing details of the groupâs product catalogue, emails, and information on customers and suppliers.

In an out-of-court settlement, the three individuals have been permanently prohibited from shipping, copying, offering for sale, selling, importing, transferring and distributing any items bearing authentic or inauthentic imitations of any Les Mills® trademarks and were ordered to pay Les Mills monetary damages.

In a press release, LMI stated "this is a successful outcome for Les Mills and sends a strong message to the market that Les Mills takes the protection of its intellectual property rights very seriously and is prepared to take action to defend those rights" adding that "further actions are under way in the US and in Europe to follow up with people Les Mills understands to be suppliers, customers or accomplices of this group."

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