Supreme Court nominee Sotomayor has history as a ‘counterfeit buster’

July 6, 2009 § Leave a comment

Fakes were never in fashion for Supreme Court nominee, Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

She may have 16 years on the federal bench, but before she was handing out verdicts, she was fighting for them on behalf of some of the biggest European luxury houses. In 1984, following five years as an Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan, Sotomayor took a position with the Manhattan-based law firm Pavia & Harcourt LLP where she worked for eight years as an international corporate litigator and focused a large portion of her work on the defense of luxury brands.

David Lipke has a fine piece in WWD about the nominee’s impressive history of fighting on behalf of the intellectual property rights holders. Lipke notes the key role Sotomayor played in drafting anti-counterfeiting legislation that would become the first law in New York state penal code to make the sale of ersatz goods illegal in the state.

The traditional legal realm of briefs and court appearances aside, Sotomayor spent her time in the trenches, chasing down counterfeiters and taking part in investigations which brought her to some of the most notorious counterfeiting dens in Chinatown, where she wore a bullet proof vest while taking inventory of the seized sham goods to use in her cases, according to Lipke. She’s been on raids with federal marshals, ridden on the back of a dirt bike in pursuit of suspected fake traders, and helped orchestrate the iconic “Fendi Crush” in front of Tavern on the Green that destroyed thousands of fake hand bags. And all of this was done long before the problem of luxury counterfeiting enjoyed the reasonable degree of public awareness it does today.

We are ever encouraged that another of the country’s finest legal minds is devoted to the fight against fakes and we share this information with the hope that it inspires you as it has us. Our ranks are filled with passionate, exceptional individuals who are devoted to finding a cure for this epidemic, but we can only best collaborate when we know who our teammates are. We thank David Lipke and WWD for their fine work on this story.

Read full story.

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