A legal fake although a contradictory term, is used to describe the practice of securing a legal right over a trademark which is obtained as a result of registering such trademark in a certain country before the original owner of that trademark is able to do so.

Supreme Italia

One of the most classic examples of legal fakes is the case of Supreme Italia, a company that has established its presence depending solely on the concept of legal fakes. The strategy that was adopted by the brand was to simply target the less informed customers into believing that it was dealing in products that were from the original brand Supreme. Interestingly, they were so successful that  in 2018, the telecom giant Samsung announced its collaboration with the brand without the slightest inkling  that the their association was with Supreme Italia and not the Original Supreme, although later such an association was revoked .

Supreme Italia was able to take advantage of the reputation that the original brand Supreme had established, owing to its ability to feed on jurisdictional variations in trademark law across the globe as many countries followed the principle of first to file and accordingly, rights are awarded to the first party to simply file a registration, not the first to actually use the mark in Commerce. This system enables the smooth operation of legal fakes. .

Intervention by Courts

In Supreme Italia’s case, the first instance of  use of such legal fakes was seen in 2016 which resulted in Supreme suing Supreme Italia which comprised of  two companies, the Italian company that produced and sold the clothes online and in shops under license, and a UK Private Limited Company called International Brand Firm (IBF), which had registered and licensed the trademark in Italy and other countries. IBF is essentially the business behind the Supreme Italia brand and its ramifications.

The High Court of Milan ruled in favor of Supreme the original brand issuing an injunction against Supreme Italia bringing a stop to its operations in Italy and declaring all activities undertaken by it, illegal. Subsequently, an appeal in this respect has also been denied by the Court.


One of the major factors leading to the establishment of Supreme Italia was the lack of protection measures adopted by the original brand, Supreme. The protection of the trademark cannot be compromised as the effects of legal fakes can be very destructive;  for even with the intervention of the Courts, it becomes very difficult to regain the trust of the consumers who regretfully become  victims to such unfair practices.  Although there are legal reliefs available, there is still a need to be more wary, and constantly monitor the brand/trademark in vital territories, so as to intervene at the right time  and take appropriate measures at the right time, where need be; for such legal fakes are lethally potent enough not only to jeopardize the value of the violated trademarks, but also the reputation and credibility of the entire brand.