Chanel files Trademark Infringement Lawsuit

By Joseph Mandour on September 26, 2011

California IP LawLos Angeles – International fashion house Chanel Inc. has filed a large-scale cyber piracy and trademark infringement lawsuit in Nevada against 399 websites for allegedly selling counterfeit items bearing Chanel’s name and logo.

The complaint, which was filed Tuesday in a U.S. District Court in Las Vegas, is asking for unspecified damages from the owners of the infringing websites that reportedly operate out of China, the Bahamas, and other countries where the enforcement of intellectual property is lax.

Besides seeking damages, Chanel’s lawsuit aims to permanently seize or disable website domain names and an injunction barring the defendants from selling any counterfeit products including handbags, wallets, shoes, boots, scarves, sunglasses, apparel, watches, and jewelry that bears the Chanel name. The lawsuit accuses the operators of domain names such as ChanelOnline.com, replica-coco-lv.com, Chanel handbags-outlet.net, and hundreds of others of being “identical or confusingly similar to” actual Chanel and Tiffany names.

The lawsuit follows a federal judge’s order in August 2010 permitting the defendants in a federal trademark infringement and counterfeiting lawsuit to be served legal notice via email. That ruling by U.S. District Judge Kent Dawson in Las Vegas came in response to claims from an attorney representing Chanel that some of the defendants were purposely falsifying their physical addresses to avoid being served.

The attorney handling the Chanel case is also the lead lawyer in a Las Vegas federal court involving fashion retailers Tiffany LLC and Louis Vuitton Malletier, S.A. The April 2011 Tiffany lawsuit is targeting over 200 unnamed website operators, including some that are also named in the Chanel case. In the Louis Vuitton case, also filed earlier this year, the plaintiff is accusing 182 website operators of online counterfeiting and trademark infringement.

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