American department store chain Nordstrom has been accused of selling counterfeit Patagonia sweatshirts and T-shirts, according to a lawsuit filed by the sustainable clothing brand. The lawsuit states that Nordstrom continued to sell the fake items even after its "years-long dealer relationship" with Patagonia had ended. The sales allegedly took place in Nordstrom Rack stores, the company's off-price retail division, throughout 2023, reported the Fashion Law.
The lawsuit emphasises that Patagonia has invested significant resources over the years to establish its brand's reputation for product quality and fair labour practices. It claims that the counterfeit products deceive customers into purchasing low-quality items that were likely produced in factories failing to meet Fair Trade Certified requirements.
The lawsuit cites various examples of obvious flaws, including labelling errors and confusing claims of 100 percent polyester and organic cotton.
In addition to trademark infringement, Patagonia accuses Nordstrom of committing copyright infringement through the unauthorised sales of the brand. The lawsuit argues that the Seattle-based company, which once was a retail partner, was well aware of Patagonia's trademarks, products, and labeling, said Business Insider.
While Nordstrom Rack is a discount retailer, counterfeit garments can infiltrate department stores via various channels and processes. Fake goods often end up in legitimate supply chains through illicit means, taking advantage of the complexity and global nature of the fashion industry, whether it is through grey market channels like parallel imports, lack of supply chain controls, or unauthorised distribution channels, which may well be the case here.