Supreme ‘legal’ counterfeiters get 11 years in prison and $10m fine

Industry

Supreme has won a landmark court case against a ‘legal’ copycat company seeing its two founders face more than $10 million in fines and years in prison.

The iconic streetwear brand, which is widely credited with pioneering “hypebeast” culture through its highly limited stock releases, has won a major victory in the battle against counterfeit sellers.

Supreme Italia, created by Italian father and son Michele and Marcello Di Pierro, has been running a parallel business to the New York-based streetwear brand for years.

By exploiting ‘first-to-file’ trademark loopholes, the pair have managed to register near identical Supreme trademarks in countries including Italy, Indonesia, Spain and Singapore despite having no affiliation with the original brand.

They were also able to open stores across Europe and China selling ‘legal’ copies of Supreme apparel.

READ MORE: Alibaba’s AI platform recognises counterfeit goods faster than you can blink

Judge Martin Beddoe dubbed the business “brazen”, “offensive” and “dishonest”, stating that the pair had “hijacked every facet” of the brand’s identity and plagiarised it.

Both were found guilty on two counts of fraud with Michele (53) being sentenced to eight years in prison, while his son Marcello (24) was sentenced to three years.

VF Corp, which now owns Supreme, will also receive damages of $10.4 million from the pair.

While the decision is seen as a landmark development in the battle between high-end or luxury brands and their increasingly high-tech counterfeiters, the victory may seem hollow to Supreme spent years battling Supreme Italia.

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