Some vendors on e-commerce platforms like taobao.com are selling goods to Chinese customers that they claim were produced by luxury winter coat company Canada Goose, which are described as "certificated products" but at a much lower price than the Canadian company charges.
The Global Times found that the price of the Canada Goose Expedition Parka Coat sold by some vendors on taobao.com is about 1,500 yuan (7), much cheaper than the same model on the Canada Goose official website, where it costs 8,800 yuan.
An unidentified Hong Kong-based vendor, whose Expedition Parka costs 1,468 yuan, told the Global Times on Thursday that "we directly place orders from Canada Goose's plant in Canada as our team has cooperation there. That's why our products are cheaper."
A Beijing-based vendor who declined to be identified but said she is a purchasing agent (daigou) told the Global Times that "I have first-hand suppliers of Canada Goose Expedition Parka coats from foreign markets, so I give large discounts in a bid to attract more buyers." The price of an Expedition Parka from that vendor is 1,590 yuan.
Now, the producer is fielding a lawsuit in a U.S. federal court in Chicago, suing a number of unidentified online Chinese businesses for selling fake Canada Goose goods, the CBS network reported on Tuesday. The U.S. is one the Canadian brand's largest markets.
It is also not clear why the Canadian firm brought the case to a U.S. court, and Canada Goose had not responded to an interview request from the Global Times as of press time.
The counterfeit coats sold on hundreds of unauthorized websites have siphoned off sales from the outwear brand, a spokesperson from the company was quoted as saying.
Hao Junbo, a lawyer at Beijing-based Hao Law Firm, told the Global Times that launching a lawsuit is not difficult, as the U.S. litigation documents can be served on Chinese retailers that are allegedly selling counterfeit goods through diplomatic channels in one or two years.
"But the move is more of a symbolic one, because even if Canada Goose wins the lawsuit, it can only ban Chinese vendors from exporting and selling the counterfeits to the U.S.," Hao said. "Those groups can still sell fake products in China, taking advantage of the disconnection between the Chinese and U.S. judicial systems.
Experts urged domestic clothing makers not to pursue short-term interests by taking illegal short cuts. "China is home to skilled labor and high-quality raw materials. Investing time and capital to establish a winter coat brand can yield long-term and sustainable profits," Hao noted.