The industry-wide battle against off-shore factories that utilize bridal brands’ copyright dress images to sell cheap, poorly made knock-offs to unsuspecting American consumers, initially led by the ABPIA, has now been joined by two additional industry heavyweights acting together in a second filing against the same web hosting and security company CloudFlare, Inc.: Allure Bridals and Justin Alexander Bridal.

In the complaint for Direct and Contributory Copyright Infringement filed in early January in federal court in Tennessee, Allure Bridals and Justin Alexander Bridal allege that CloudFlare enables foreign counterfeiters to infringe on more than 5,000 copyrights owned by both dressmakers appearing on 99 different websites that are clients of CloudFlare.

And that CloudFlare has continued to allow counterfeit dress sellers to use its services despite receiving “thousands of notifications” of infringement from both companies.

Counterfeit products and merchandise have long been an issue worldwide, but the impact of this practice has dramatically escalated with the advent of the Internet and the ability of websites to easily promote cheap copies of dresses to unsuspecting consumers. 

Current estimates of the financial impact of counterfeiting on businesses and consumers exceed $1 trillion a year, with approximately $500 million impact in the United States alone, according to the ABPIA.

“These Counterfeiters seek to exploit for themselves the substantial investment we at Justin Alexander have made in designing and developing products and in creating high-quality images of our dresses,” states Justin Warshaw, CEO and creative director of Justin Alexander.

“Cloudflare has significantly contributed to the growth of this problem because Cloudflare refuses to terminate the accounts of known counterfeiters who have been exploiting our images to sell their inferior products. Consequently, foreign counterfeiters flock to CloudFlare’s content delivery network to enable their websites to penetrate the US market."

Together with Allure Bridals, "we decided to file a suit to curb CloudFlare’s unlawful aiding of this infringement, which poses a serious threat to the bridal and prom industry and other industries," added Warshaw.

It’s the second industry filing against CloudFlare asserting a similar behavior. In November 2018, the ABPIA acting in support of Mon Cheri Bridals and Maggie Sottero Designs, filed a complaint in Federal Court in California asserting that CloudFlare enables counterfeit websites to deceive consumers and violate the copyrights of Mon Cheri Bridal, Maggie Sottero Designs and other members of the formalwear industry.

ABPIA’s lawsuit recently completed a court-requested meditation, and initial steps are underway in preparation for a trial.

“I am very happy to report that the mediating judge indicated to Cloudflare that they have exposure and that they should not count on the courts granting them a favorable summary judgment to dismiss the case,” said ABPIA president and Mon Cheri Bridals CEO Steve Lang. “The courts will now determine the next steps after receiving a report from the mediator and should begin scheduling dates for discovery, depositions and ultimately a trial assuming summary judgment fails.”

CloudFlare,Inc., a Delaware corporation based in San Francisco, California, offers “one of the world’s largest cloud network platforms,” representing over 10 million domains, serviced by over 155 data centers world wide, as stated on its website. Additionally, the company's efforts automatically affects over 20 million Internet properties, works with more than 1 billion IP addresses daily, and serves data from 200 cities in over 90 countries around the world.