LOUIS VUITTON SUES COUNTERFEIT SELLERS IN CHINA
Louis Vuitton has filed suit in Beijing's Haidian District Court seeking damages from counterfeiters. Vuitton claims that three individual sellers on e-commerce site TaoBao were convicted of selling counterfeit versions of its clothing, shoes and handbags. TaoBao, an e-commerce marketplace, is a part of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. China's biggest online commerce company. The sellers were given unspecified criminal sentences following their convictions in 2014.
In the recently filed suit, Louis Vuitton is requesting that the defendants "stop infringing on its trademark and is seeking compensation of economic losses of 250,000 yuan, or $37,900 at current exchange.
Alibaba seems to be coming under fire recently with a barrage of counterfeit claims. The company, likened to site such as Ebay and Amazon, was sued for the second time in May 2015 by French fashion giant, Kering. Keying accused Alibaba of selling knock-offs of its brands, Saint Laurent, Gucci and Balenziaga. Alibaba isn't making too many friends across the pond.
The American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) recently urged the United States Trade Representatives (USTR) to blacklist TaoBao due to counterfeiting and copyright violations. TaoBao was put on the blacklist in 2011 but was subsequently removed the following year after it promised it would remedy the intellectual property violations. AAFA has requested that TaoBao be added back to the list due to its failure to remedy any of its violations.
It remains to be seen whether lawsuits against individual sellers or blacklisting will be enough to discourage posting of counterfeit items on online marketplaces.