tbradford / iStockphoto.com
Luxury fashion brand Chanel has accused 33 unknown entities of trademark infringement and online counterfeiting in a complaint filed at the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida on Monday, November 26.
The French brand claimed that the online entities are “engaged in infringing activities and causing harm” through their “illegal activities” of selling counterfeit products to consumers in Florida.
“Like many other famous trademark owners in the luxury goods market, Chanel suffers ongoing daily and sustained violations of its trademark rights at the hands of counterfeiters and infringers,” Chanel said.
The complaint said that these violations have the purposes of “duping and confusing” the public, and eroding the goodwill associated with the Chanel brand and name.
Chanel owns a trademark for its name (0,626,035), registered in 1956 in class 18 to cover women’s handbags. Another ‘Chanel’ trademark covers bracelets, in class 14, and a further one covers clothing, in class 25.
The French brand also owns trademarks for its famous ‘CC’ monogram. Chanel has a range of figurative marks depicting the monogram in different styles, covering a number of classes for a range of goods including clothing, leather goods, key chains, and other accessories.
According to Chanel, the defendants use “interactive internet-based photo albums”—on yupoo.com, instagram.com, WhatsApp, and WeChat—to advertise their products.
They use private messaging apps in combination with their seller IDs to offer and sell “confusingly similar imitations of Chanel’s merchandise”, the suit said.
“Some defendants have anonymously registered and maintained some of the seller IDs for the sole purpose of engaging in illegal counterfeiting activities,” the complaint added.
Chanel added that the counterfeit sellers know and intend that the counterfeit goods will be mistaken for the genuine high quality goods produced by the French brand.
As well as infringing Chanel’s IP rights, the defendants are engaging in unfair competition and fraudulent conduct by providing false or misleading information to websites when signing up for seller IDs, the claim said.
Chanel asked the court to award it injunctive and monetary relief, including $2 million for each instance of counterfeiting or triple damages.
The French brand also requested that the court order the internet hosting websites to disable any accounts involved in the counterfeiting, including any private messaging accounts or monetary accounts such as PayPal.
Chanel, counterfeit consumer goods, luxury brand, branding, goodwill, trademark infringement, online counterfeiting, CC monogram, confusion, Instagram