The ABPIA (American Bridal and Prom Industry Association), and its ongoing efforts to combat copyright and trademark infringement by offshore factories and their websites, gained significant ground recently when a federal court issued a final judgment against approximately 250 defendants and ordered the turnover of nearly $350,000 in frozen PayPal funds.

The US district court, New Jersey, presided by the Hon. Anne E Thompson, ordered June 3 that the approximate 250 defendants are liable for willful federal trademark infringement and unfair competition in violation of Federal and State law.

Among other actions, the court also ordered that domain listing agencies disable infringing domain names and to transfer them permanently to the ABPIA; and the freezing of any and all funds in all financial accounts affiliated with these defendants.

This is of course amazing news. . . and one quietly and cautiously celebrated by the association board. . . not only because the judgment helps fund ABPIA’s years-long effort, but because it may pave the way for similar judgments, as this suit is just the first of numerous actions brought by the association to this particular court. Still in queue are continuing actions against nearly 1,000 additional websites, backed by a very aggressive effort by the ABPIA to identify infringing websites.

You may think that 250 websites is not a big deal... what of thousands of others, and what about the real possibility that some of these websites may resurface with a different name?

But the significance is not in the number. . . in my mind we only need one... it is the precedent that establishes near immediate credibility to every step the association now takes both in and out of court in this effort to protect its members, and ultimately the industry’s trademarks and livelihood.

Congratulations to the ABPIA. . . the war is far from over, but the battles won are far more significant than mere skirmishes