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Legal Briefs: Cartier, Chanel…

Cartier, a division of Richemont North America, was awarded a final judgment on consent in a trademark lawsuit against Citra Trading Corporation.

Cartier, a division of Richemont North America, was awarded a final judgment on consent in a trademark lawsuit against Citra Trading Corporation in Manhattan federal court. According to court documents filed on June 15, Cartier and Citra reached a settlement agreement. Initially, Cartier alleged that Citra had infringed on its “screw head bracelet” design. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

Aedes de Venustas filed a lawsuit against Venustas International in Manhattan federal court for allegedly infringing on its trade name and trademark. Aedes de Venustas is a specialty retailer of fragrance, bath and body products. Venustas International is a company run by Robin Burns, who was recently tapped to develop a beauty collection for Ann Taylor Stores. Burns was not specifically named as a defendant in the lawsuit. According to court documents filed in late May, Aedes de Venustas said that, following articles about Burns and Venustas International’s partnership with Ann Taylor, it “received numerous telephone calls from people in the fashion and beauty field congratulating the Plaintiff on or asking about its new contract with Ann Taylor.” The company also received invoices intended for Venustas International. Aedes de Venustas said the calls and mail are evidence of actual confusion regarding the two company names. Aedes de Venustas asked the court for preliminary and permanent injunctions, damages and trial costs. Neither Venustas International nor Ann Taylor returned calls for comment by press time.

Chanel filed a lawsuit against Lori Dawn Langdon, who does business as Boca Bags, in federal court in the Southern District of Florida for alleged trademark infringement. According to court documents filed on June 13, Chanel charged that the defendants sold handbags, wallets and sunglasses that it alleged are counterfeits bearing copies of its trademarks. The lawsuit includes allegations of trademark counterfeiting and infringement and false designation of origin. Chanel asked the court for a preliminary and permanent injunction, financial damages and trial costs. The defendants did not return requests for comment.

Separately, Chanel filed a trademark-infringement lawsuit in Manhattan federal court against Linda Allen, who does business as European Beauty Fashions, My Classy Fashion, Ultimate Designer Handbags and affiliated Web sites. According to legal papers filed June 7, the defendants allegedly sold counterfeit handbags, wallets, watches, necklaces, costume jewelry and sunglasses that infringed on Chanel’s trademarks. The complaint included allegations of trademark counterfeiting and infringement, false designation of origin, and trademark dilution. Chanel asked for a preliminary and permanent injunction and damages. The defendants did not return calls seeking comment.

Chanel filed another trademark-infringement lawsuit in New Jersey federal court against Joseph Mosseri and a number of Web sites he operates and Modena Apparel Corporation and affiliated Web sites on June 5. According to court documents, the defendants allegedly sold counterfeit Chanel merchandise, including handbags. The complaint includes allegations of trademark counterfeiting and infringement, false designation of origin and unfair competition. Chanel asked the court for a preliminary and permanent injunction and financial damages. The defendants could not be reached for comment.

Louis Vuitton Malletier was awarded a $1.1 million judgment and a permanent injunction against Lushbags.com in a trademark-infringement lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court. The judgment was entered on June 12. The lawsuit was originally filed in February 2005 against Lushbags.com and Whenu.com. The case against Whenu.com was dismissed in October 2005. Under the terms of the injunction entered this month, Lushbags.com is prohibited from using Louis Vuitton Malletier’s trademarks or copyrights.

Louis Vuitton Malletier also filed a trademark-infringement lawsuit against the Home Shopping Network and American Elite on May 30. According to legal documents filed in federal court in the Middle District of Florida, Louis Vuitton Malletier alleged that American Elite, a foreign company that imports and manufactures luggage, sold merchandise to HSN which had infringement or counterfeits of all the Louis Vuitton trademarks, with the exception of the Damier trademark. HSN in turn sold that merchandise to customers, according to the lawsuit. The case includes allegations of trademark infringement and counterfeiting and false designation of origin. Louis Vuitton Malletier asked the court for a permanent and preliminary injunction, damages and trial costs. A company spokesman for HSN said the company doesn’t comment on pending litigation as a matter of policy, but that the company takes artistic integrity very seriously and expects its vendors to as well.

Chrome Hearts filed a lawsuit against Guess Inc. for allegedly infringing on a belt buckle design. According to the complaint filed June 6 in Manhattan federal court, Guess knowingly infringed on Chrome Hearts’ copyrighted belt buckle design and sold “piratical copies of the buckle” through its online and retail stores. Chrome Hearts asked the court for a preliminary and permanent injunction and financial damages, as well as for the recall of the allegedly infringing belt buckles. Guess did not return calls seeking comment.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Coalition Against Counterfeiting and Piracy announced a new campaign focused on the enforcement of intellectual property laws on June 14. The agenda of the campaign will address six specific goals, according to a statement. Those goals are: to increase the resources of the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice, to have stronger border enforcement, to make the penalties tougher, to improve the coordination of government entities, to reform the judicial and the civil process and to educated consumers. “American innovation, jobs and consumer health and safety are being hijacked by organized counterfeiting and piracy crooks and law enforcement resources are inadequate to stop them,” said Tom Donohue, president and chief executive officer of the Chamber of Commerce. “Intellectual property theft is seen as a low-risk, high-reward crime in America and it is time to put an end to this by dedicating the law enforcement resources at all levels to put these networks out of business.”