NEW YORK — LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton is keeping up the pressure against online counterfeiters and is upping the ante by going after an advertising company that provided software that enabled a counterfeiter to advertise on other Web sites.
On Feb. 3, Vuitton filed suit in Manhattan federal court accusing Lushbags.com of selling counterfeit goods. As of Wednesday, an assortment of discounted Vuitton handbags, bags and wallets were available for purchase on the site. Also named in the suit was New York-based advertising company WhenU.com.
According to the complaint, WhenU provides software used by Lushbags that causes pop-up ads to appear on third-party Web sites “without the permission of or payment to the owners.” Unfortunately for Lushbags and WhenU, those pop-ups have also appeared when Web surfers visited louisvuitton.com, lvmh.com and vuitton.com.
“WhenU.com and Lushbags.com have specifically targeted and continue to target the Louis Vuitton Web sites for the delivery of infringing pop-up advertisements featuring Louis Vuitton Trademarks,” said the complaint. Vuitton alleged violations on nine counts, including trademark infringement, contributory trademark infringement and trademark counterfeiting. The firm seeks a permanent injunction and an unspecified amount in damages. Lushbags and WhenU withheld comment.
Meanwhile, Gucci America filed a complaint on Feb. 8, accusing Gloria Stein Hayes of selling counterfeit Gucci handbags, watches, wallets and other items from her Shoes 4u store in Memphis, Tenn. Also named in the complaint is Brooklyn, N.Y., resident Barry Mamadou Diquhe, whom Gucci claims purchased the counterfeit goods in Chinatown and then delivered to Hayes. A listed phone number for Shoes 4u was no longer in service, and Diquhe could not be reached for comment.
Gucci contends that Hayes and Diquhe pulled in more than $1 million in profits over several years. Gucci is alleging violations on seven counts, including trademark counterfeiting, trademark infringement and false designation of origin. The company seeks a permanent injunction and damages of more than $1 million.
Back in New York, celebrity jeweler Jacob & Company Watches Inc. nailed a victory in its case against a Diamond District retailer selling knockoffs of its Five Time Zone watch. Richard J. Holwell, U.S. District Court judge, filed a judgment reached on consent between Jacob & Co. and Abramov & Sons Inc. on Feb. 8. The judgment permanently bars the company and Rudy, Yuri and Joseph Abramov from selling watches that infringed upon the Five Time Zone design.
This story first appeared in the February 17, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
A monetary settlement also was reached, details of which were not disclosed.