PUMA merchandise, including Fenty by Rihanna items, on sale by Ouch Boutique were “definitely fakes”.
That was the evidence of visiting PUMA trademark specialist, Louis Comvalius, as the case against the director of The City boutique, Grenville Ricardo Delpeache, began in the District ‘A’ Magistrates’’ Court, before Magistrate Graveney Bannister today.
Delpeache, 44, of Passage Road, Passage Gardens, St Michael is on trial for allegedly selling PUMA Fenty by Rihanna and Creeper Sneakers and PUMA Fenty slippers; exposing for sale 17 Puma slippers, seven single shoes and 31 backpacks which were counterfeit. The offences were allegedly committed in May last year.
Comvalius, who is based in Curaçao and has been with the PUMA brand since 2006, distinguishes genuine goods from those that are counterfeit.
He explained that he was here in May last year after getting pictures of a pair of Fenty slippers from attorney-at-law Mark Hope.
Hope, who also gave evidence today, disclosed that his 28-year-old daughter said she purchased the wine/burgundy coloured item from the store located on Swan Street.
The specialist said at first glance the item appeared to be fake and communicated that to Hope, who is also affiliated with PUMA.
In response to questions by the prosecutor, Acting Assistant Superintendent of Police Trevor Blackman, Comvalius categorically stated that the items, which were were put on display in the court, “are false”.
He explained that the slippers, which retail for around US$200, did not have the particulars of the genuine product as the quality was different; the fur on the slippers was not properly attached to the sole; the embroidery of the PUMA cat was “off”; the label was not that of the genuine PUMA and the care tag was in an Asian language not used by the trademark. The slippers, he said, were also not the same weight as the originals and the packaging was missing as the slippers came in boxes.
The Fenty Creeper Sneakers “which is the most counterfeited shoe at the moment”, and retails for BDS$450 and US$225 were also “cheap counterfeits”.
Another shoe, he said, was “so easy to detect” it was counterfeit as it was branded as “suede” and “this was the leather version”.
The bags he identified were “definitely fakes” as they had the wrong labels and wrong information.
“The hand tags are full of spelling mistakes, in German, Spanish, French, English and that does not happen with genuine PUMA products.”
In fact, he said with the German tag only the word PUMA was spelt correctly and the French was “even worse”.
Under cross-examination by Satcha Kissoon, Comvalius explained that while a consumer may not be able to tell the difference between a genuine and fake product, a merchandiser should.
“Your client is not a general consumer,” he stated before the case was adjourned until Wednesday, January 24.
The Crown still has six witnesses to put on the stand while the defence has three, including the accused.
However, Delpeache is not the only one facing such offences. Rihanna’s uncle Leroy Fitzgerald Brathwaite will also appear in court next Tuesday on similar charges.
The 53-year-old local businessman of 1st Avenue, Gooding Road, Station Hill, St Michael is accused of committing three offences under Section 15 of the Consumer Protection Act on May 29 by falsely representing that 11 pairs of slippers and 13 t-shirts were of a particular PUMA standard, quality, style or model.
He is also accused of exposing the goods for sale on the same day, intending to benefit from their sale, and exposing the items for sale without the consent of the owner of the PUMA trademark.
Brathwaite has denied the charges and is currently on $1,000 bail.