Ina Fried

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Speck Sues for Millions Over Allegedly Counterfeit Cases

Over the years, accessories maker Speck Products has seen its business encasing portable electronics go from small potatoes into a rather large business.

Speck CandyShell-feature

But with that growth has come a growing problem with knock-offs that are using its brand.

Last week, the company filed a multi-million-dollar lawsuit — it’s biggest enforcement action yet — against Katinkas USA, a Utah company it says has been selling fake Speck cases. Also named is the company’s chief executive.

An email to Katinkas seeking comment did not immediately receive a response.

“Counterfeiting is a very big problem in the accessories market,” Speck CEO Irene Baran said in an interview. “We’re going to go after this. It’s illegal and it hurts us companies and there’s a lot of it going on.”

In the suit, filed in federal court in the Central District of California, Speck accuses Katinkas and its CEO of copyright and trademark infringement and unfair business practices, among other claims. The company seeks injunctions against the company as well as millions in damages.

According to the suit, Katinkas USA sold the counterfeit goods on Speck says it bought goods on Amazon that it determined to be counterfeit. It said it worked with Amazon to identify the source of the goods as Katinkas.

Baran said that Speck has been able to spot and seize counterfeit goods in the past, but said this is the first time it has been able to track down a major distributor of the goods. The company hopes to work with its rival accessory makers to crack down on such operations.

“I think we could pool our resources and make a concerted effort,” she said.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik