In a recent letter to New York District Judge Valerie Caproni, Kering again refuted June claims by eyewear boutique Selima Optique Inc. that it’s possibly labeling eyewear made in China as “Made in Italy,” and said it’s preparing to push for a dismissal of the entire case before discovery can even begin.
“The plaintiff’s entire complaint is based on the demonstrably false premise that defendants’ luxury eyewear products are made in China,” counsel for Kering said in the letter. “As defendants explained to the plaintiff prior to the filing of this action, but for a few minor exceptions, all of the defendants’ luxury eyewear products, including those at issue here, are made in either Italy, France or Japan.”
Selima Optique claims it received in October one pair of Yves Saint Laurent eyeglass frames that were stamped “Made in Italy” on one temple piece, while the other was stamped “Made in China,” leading it to question Kering as to the source of its YSL eyewear, as well as its other brands such as Gucci and Stella McCartney.
Under Italy’s 2009 “Made in Italy Law,” in order to be labeled as made in the country, a product has to be entirely made in Italy, from sourcing to assembly.
Selima claims it’s been damaged by Kering’s allegedly false labeling as a wholesale consumer and a competitor that manufactures its own line of luxury eyewear. The amount it is seeking is unspecified.
Kering described a simple labeling mistake stemming from the company’s manufacture of Puma eyewear in China that affected 21 pieces of legitimately Italian-made eyewear, which were split between “a small number” of wholesale customers, according to the letter.
“Upon learning of these mislabeled units, defendants immediately contacted plaintiff and the other accounts to explain and to resolve the issue by offering an exchange at no charge, and certificates of origin to any retail consumer certifying that the mislabeled units were, indeed, made in Italy,” Kering explained. “Defendants’ other wholesale accounts readily understood the mistake and exchanged the mislabeled units. Plaintiff, on the other hand, responded by demanding compensation and threatening to file a class-action lawsuit and “arrange for a press conference at the time of filing.’”
Kering went on to claim that Selima said before filing the lawsuit that it was expecting “considerable media interest” in its allegations, but Kering nevertheless rejected the “unreasonable demand” Selima made for compensation.
While Kering said it expects to seek a full dismissal of Salima’s claims, which it described generally as “lacking factual merit” and “legally defective,” it didn’t close the door on the possibility of settlement, but on its own terms.
“Defendants are willing to engage in early settlement discussions with the sole goal of plaintiff dropping this litigation and issuing a corrective statement that its publicly filed and damaging claims are factually erroneous,” Kering said.
It added that it would refuse any settlement that included compensation to Selima.
In the same letter, Selima said no settlement talks have taken place, but it is “prepared to explore possible resolutions.”
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