Jeweller has discovered that Australian-based websites are openly selling counterfeit watches and jewellery from famous brands within the guise of “replicas”.
Investigations by Jeweller established which a local website – SwissReplicaWatches – sells exact copies of popular brands including Tag Heuer, Breitling, Omega and replica Cartier jewelry.
The internet site is registered to a company called Brantley Pty Ltd and Australian Securities and Investments Commission records show the business 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 as well as the website lists a phone number as 61 414 015 405 and helps make the following claims; “We are Australia’s #1 Replica Watch Retailer, 1 Year FULL Replacement Warranty, 7 Day Risk-Free Money-Back Guarantee.”
The other day Jeweller contacted Martenstyn, who confirmed that this company ended up being operating for a couple of years but claimed his actions did not 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 refer to it as counterfeiting,” Martenstyn said, adding that his products were “high-end replicas” manufactured 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 firm Middletons, assessing whether product is counterfeit is fairly straight-forward.
“If an enterprise is utilizing brand names without having authority [make up the brand owner] then it’s likely to be a trademark infringement,” she said, adding that selling exact copies may also be a “design infringement”.
Egan confirmed that the term “replica” was incorrect – copies carrying a brand’s logo are considered “counterfeit” goods.
Martenstyn justified his operation by claiming the internet site “helps” the wrist watch brands.
“People who order from us, they are not going to buy the original, so that it doesn’t directly change the trademark owners. The truth is, it helps them,” he stated.
Egan said the sole reason the website could remain online was if none of the affected brands had taken action.
“It’s up to 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. Whenever we were to have any type of difficulties with the trademark holders our company is happy to try to meet a resolution,” he explained.
The blatant nature of such operations raises questions about why the websites are permitted to remain online australia wide, given the potential damage caused towards the brands’ reputation and integrity.
Interestingly, Rolex managing director Richard De Leyser said he was aware about the web site.
He refused to discuss the matter any further, but said: “We take any infringement of our own copyright very seriously.”
Martenstyn said he would continue operating the web site as long as his business was profitable.
wish to purchase such goods, that’s once we wouldn’t supply them anymore.”
Instead of taking a low-key approach, further investigations reveal the business appears to be ramping up its operations, having recently advertised for 2 customer care representatives.
“We are trying to find two new members to participate 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 quantity of steps companies might take to protect their intellectual property from online counterfeiters.
“The first port of call is always to send a letter to the operator in the website,” she said, adding that Google can be contacted to have a website excluded from search results.
“I think brands have to be really vigilant in monitoring these web sites. It’s really in regards to the brands getting a proactive stance and ensuring they’ve got their brand appropriately protected,” she said.
Martenstyn stressed he had not been contacted by any 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 person had contacted him to mention it wasn’t.
He added that his legal services is he is not in breach of your law.
In addition, a disclaimer on SwissReplicaWatches.com.au states how the brands “cannot prosecute anybody(s) connected to this website”, citing code 431.322.12 of the Internet Privacy Act.
More internet retailers display similar disclaimers, all citing code 431.322.12 in the Internet Privacy Act.
Another Australian website, which provides van cleef & arpels clover necklace outlet labelled jewellery cites the identical code, stating: “Any person representing or formally utilized by any one of the brands offered cannot enter this site. … When you enter this page and never consent to these terms you might be in violation of code 431.322.12 of dexipky14 Internet Privacy Act.”
Aside from the reality that a wide disclaimer such as that would not be accepted by way of a court, Jeweller’s research could find no proof the existence of the, so-called, Internet Privacy Act. It looks to be a disclaimer used by lots of counterfeit websites so as to deter court action.
Jeweller emailed Martenstyn asking, “The Terms & Conditions part of your site refers to the “Internet Privacy Act”. We could find no such Act, are you able to direct us to it?”
Martenstyn was also asked whether he agreed that the product his business sold was counterfeit provided that it carries the logos of famous brands.