Target pays out $1 million as counterfeit case finally comes to an end

By Michelle Yeomans

- Last updated on GMT

Target pays out $1 million as counterfeit case finally comes to an end

Related tags Retailing

The Federal Court has ordered the global retail giant to pay $1 million in compensation to colour cosmetics brand M.A.C for selling counterfeit versions of its products.

The courts ruled that in addition to the payment the amount agreed to cover damages, profits, interest and costs, the retail giant would also run corrective advertising on the front page of its catalogue, and for a 30-day period on its' website home page and cosmetics pages, Facebook page and in-store signage.

Target, which is owned by Perth-based conglomerate Wesfarmers, will also run corrective advertising to state that it could not prove that its MAC range was not fake.

It will also hand over any remaining goods with the counterfeit M.A.C branding.

Despite ruling Target says it does 'not admit guilt'

According to Jim Cooper, Target's general manager, corporate affairs, despite the ruling, the retailer did not admit guilt or liability.

"The testing required to prove if the products were authentic would have been both costly and time-consuming, and so we have taken the commercially prudent decision to settle​.”

On the settlement Estée Lauder's senior vice president Gregg Marrazzo, says it completely vindicates the action taken by MAC to protect consumers and the brand.

"We will continue to protect our brand and the public by pursuing those that trade in counterfeit products. It is clear that Australian laws put us in a strong position to do that,​” he adds. 

Nature of the lengthy case

The court battle against Target, one of Australia’s biggest retailers, was triggered in September 2012 when Target was forced to strip its shelves of MAC - Australia’s biggest-selling prestige cosmetics range - after Estee Lauder claimed the make-up was fake.

It is believed Target bought its potentially fake MAC from a US middle man in Texas, with that distributor then linked to an even more obscure make-up wholesaler in Arizona.

Target has also launched its own legal action in the US to discover where its MAC range was originally sourced from.

Two Australian companies that sold the MAC cosmetics to Target have also agreed to pay $10,000 each to MAC.

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