Louis Vuitton has no tolerance for counterfeiters, and neither does the U.S. International Trade Commission. The regulatory body has ruled in favor of the luxury brand in a counterfeit bag lawsuit brought against Jianyong Zheng and Alice Bei Wang and others.
Zheng and Bei, who own multiple businesses in China, California and Texas, are accused of manufacturing and importing fake Louis Vuitton handbags adorned with the label's signature Toile Monogram design. The court has ruled that the pair and two other American companies have indeed violated trademark law.
A remedy has not yet been issued, but Fashionista reports it will likely result in an order preventing the goods from being imported into the U.S. Valerie Sonnier, the company's global intellectual property director, has also suggested that the order will cover all infringing products -- not just those made by Zheng and Bei.
On a small business level, this could be important for those businesses that import or sell luxury goods. Or more specifically, those that important or sell goods that are similar to name brand items. Companies like Polo Ralph Lauren have brought similar suits, but Vogue reports that the court's ruling is unprecedented. No other brand has been afforded such widespread protection.
The order, once issued, could very well cut off product availability. It could also cause customs problems for those who deal in these products, possibly leading to other lawsuits. So if you have any reason to believe that you may be importing and selling knock off designer goods, you might want to consider your options.
Also, consider the fact that the Second Circuit has just upheld a $3 million judgment in a separate Louis Vuitton counterfeit bag lawsuit. That's a lot of money and a whole lot of headache.
- Louis Vuitton Wins Lawsuit Against Chinese Counterfeit Empire (Styleite)
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- Fashionable Fight: Court Rules for Louis Vuitton Against eBay (FindLaw's Decided)