News Private Prosecution 8th Jul 2021

Jonathan Laidlaw QC and Lewis MacDonald, instructed by Howard Kennedy, act in private prosecution for Supreme

Three defendants, the Italian nationals Michele Di Pierro and Marcello Di Pierro, and the English company International Brand Firm Ltd, were on 24 June 2021 unanimously convicted by a jury at Southwark Crown Court sitting at Prospero House, of conspiracy to defraud against Supreme and fraud by misrepresentation against the general public, in respect of the widespread counterfeiting of Supreme clothing throughout Europe and in China. This case reinforces the importance of consumer protections that are embedded in trademark law.

Michele Di Pierro was sentenced to 8 years’ imprisonment, and Marcello Di Pierro to 3 years’. International Brand Firm Ltd was fined £7.5 million.

In sentencing, HHJ Beddoe stated:

Over 4 years these defendants hijacked every facet of the prosecutor’s corporate identity. It is the most sophisticated and determined counterfeiting operation certainly that I have come across. … [the defendants] sought to steal Supreme’s entire brand identity and their marketing techniques…

The brazenness of the offence is as remarkable as its dishonest determination. As Chapter 4 [Supreme] attempted to shut it down, the defendants exploited weaknesses in trademark protection in Italy. Like ticks, they jumped from one company and jurisdiction to another, and carried on regardless, all through the façade created by IBF in the UK. They profited by millions….”

Jonathan Laidlaw QC and Lewis MacDonald acted for the private prosecutor, instructed by Ian Ryan, Mark Stephens CBE, and Jennifer Harper, of Howard Kennedy.

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