Acting as a Community Court for the whole European Union, the Paris court of appeals has acknowledged the distinctiveness of Havaianas' graphic trademark and confirmed its validity, concluding that it is readily identifiable. Alpargatas Europe feels that the verdict settles the company's claims against four - five defendants in the case, which started one and a half years ago, and that it will have a major impact on other judicial decisions in the rest of the EU. The subsidiary has two in-house lawyers and spends about as much to defend its intellectual property rights as it does in marketing. Over the past five years, Havaianas has launched 30 similar lawsuits in Europe, and has sent more than 360 cease-and-desist letters to alleged infringers. Many cases involved the use of the trade name as a generic name for thongs. In additional, 1.52 million fake Havaianas were seized by European customs during the same period.