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Africa Relief Group Wins Court Round

April 20, 1985|DENNIS McDOUGAL | Times Staff Writer

USA for Africa attorneys won the first round Friday in their battle to stop counterfeiters from manufacturing and selling unauthorized T-shirts, sweat shirts and other items bearing the trademarked logo of the "We Are the World" project, which is raising money to help famine-stricken Africans.

U.S. District Judge James Ideman granted a temporary restraining order, demanding that eight individual and two corporate defendants stop making bootlegged USA for Africa merchandise. A hearing on whether to grant a permanent injunction has been set for Friday, according to USA for Africa attorney Jay Cooper.

"We're not interested in punishing these people," Cooper said. "We're interested in stopping them, getting and destroying the material and getting a proper accounting."

Loss Estimated in Millions

Cooper said counterfeiters have already cost the USA for Africa Foundation several million dollars in lost revenue. Most of the money USA for Africa takes in, including proceeds of the recording "We Are the World," is earmarked for aid to starving residents of 21 African countries.

One of the defendants is Chang Hee Kim, operator of United Sportswear in downtown Los Angeles. He does not speak English, but his daughter, Susan Kim, said the Santee Street shop sold dresses, pants, T-shirts and other cotton clothing, but has never sold USA for Africa clothing, bogus or authentic.

She said her father did not know he had been sued for copyright infringement.

'We Have the Evidence'

But Cooper insisted: "We think they have been selling it, and we have the evidence."

Other named defendants included Yong Woo Son, doing business as Dreams; Soo Bum Choi, doing business as Choi's T-shirts & Gifts; Irving and Jean Forman, doing business as Here 'N Now; Progressive Distributors Inc., doing business as Chickenshirt!; Sheila Lokitz, doing business as Energie; Energies Stores Inc., and Manual and David Pena, doing business as Mark-It Store.

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