Jeweller has found that Australian-based websites are openly selling counterfeit watches and jewellery from well known brands within the guise of “replicas”.
Investigations by Jeweller have established that a local website – SwissReplicaWatches – sells exact copies of popular brands including Tag Heuer, Breitling, Omega and Cartier Jewelry Knockoff.
The site is registered to a company called Brantley Pty Ltd and Australian Securities and Investments Commission records show the company 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 and 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.”
A week ago Jeweller contacted Martenstyn, who confirmed that this company have been operating for a couple of years but claimed his actions did not breach any Australian or international laws. He went as far as describing his business as operating within a necessary industry because consumers demand the item.
“I wouldn’t refer to it as counterfeiting,” Martenstyn said, adding that his products were “high-end replicas” created in Geneva, Switzerland. Interestingly SwissReplicaWatches.com.au states, “We refuse to dodgy ‘fakes’ from Asia.”
According to intellectual property expert Lisa Egan, a senior associate at law firm Middletons, assessing whether item is counterfeit is very straight-forward.
“If a company is applying brands without having authority [constitute the brand owner] then it’s apt 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 website “helps” the wrist watch brands.
“People who order from us, they are not going to find the original, therefore it doesn’t directly change the trademark owners. In fact, it helps them,” he said.
Egan said the only reason the website could remain online was if none of the affected brands had taken action.
“It’s approximately the those who own the brands to consider action against it and also have that content removed,” she said.
Martenstyn claimed he had never been contacted by the brands featured on his website.
“We’ve never actually had any issues in any way. When we were to have any type of complications with the trademark holders our company is very happy to try to meet a resolution,” he stated.
The blatant nature of such operations raises questions about why the websites may remain online australia wide, because of the potential damage caused towards the brands’ reputation and integrity.
Interestingly, Rolex managing director Richard De Leyser said he was mindful of the site.
He refused to comment on the matter any more, but said: “We take any infringement of our own copyright very seriously.”
Martenstyn said he would continue operating the website so long as his business was profitable.
desire to purchase such goods, that’s whenever we wouldn’t supply them any further.”
Rather than taking a low-key approach, further investigations reveal the company is apparently ramping up its operations, having recently advertised for just two customer care representatives.
“We are looking for two new members to participate our dedicated and friendly team that specialises in supplying high-end luxury goods including jewellery, timepieces and paintings,” the web based advertisement reads.
Egan said you will discover a number of steps companies may take to guard their intellectual property from online counterfeiters.
“The first port of call would be to send a letter for the operator from the website,” she said, adding that Google may also be contacted to have a website excluded from google search results.
“I think brands should be really vigilant in monitoring these web sites. It’s really about the brands taking a proactive stance and ensuring that they’ve got their brand appropriately protected,” she said.
Martenstyn stressed which he had not been contacted by any of the brand owners about his website and added, in an interesting twist of logic, that he believes that his business activity is legal because nobody had contacted him to mention it wasn’t.
He added that his legal counsel is the fact he or she is not in breach of your law.
In addition, a disclaimer on SwissReplicaWatches.com.au states that this brands “cannot prosecute any person(s) affiliated with this website”, citing code 431.322.12 of the Internet Privacy Act.
More online stores display similar disclaimers, all citing code 431.322.12 from the Internet Privacy Act.
Another Australian website, that provides van cleef & arpels clover necklace outlet labelled jewellery cites the identical code, stating: “Any person representing or formally hired by any of the brands offered cannot enter this website. … If you enter this site and you should not agree to these terms you happen to be in violation of code 431.322.12 of dexipky14 Internet Privacy Act.”
Apart from the fact that an extensive disclaimer such as that would not be accepted by way of a court, Jeweller’s research could find no proof of the existence of the, so-called, Internet Privacy Act. It seems to be a disclaimer used by many counterfeit websites in an effort to deter legal action.
Jeweller emailed Martenstyn asking, “The Terms & Conditions portion of your web site means the “Internet Privacy Act”. We could find no such Act, can you direct us into it?”
Martenstyn have also been asked whether he agreed that this product his business sold was counterfeit considering the fact that it carries the logos of popular brands.