What Goes Around Comes Around is ready to defend its business against a lawsuit by Chanel.
Seth Weisser and Gerard Maione, cofounders of the luxury vintage retailer who serve as its chief executive and chief creative officers, respectively, told WWD that Chanel’s allegations made last week are simply “unfounded.” Chanel accused the brand of trademark infringement, unfair competition, false advertising and deceptive business practices related to its sale of Chanel products, certain ones of which the French brand said were unauthenticated and counterfeit, along with the retailer’s use of Chanel brand imagery to promote its own business.
“We take meticulous care in sourcing our authentic offerings,” Weisser and Maione said. “Our team has 25 years of training and knowledge in identifying genuine product and we offer only product that has been fully vetted by us.”
In its complaint, Chanel said it had “recently learned” of a fake handbag and a fake tissue box cover that were sold with “false” letters of authenticity. The brand pointed out that neither of the products were authorized by Chanel, and said it wishes to halt any public confusion on the part of What Goes Around shoppers that its Chanel offerings have been authenticated by the brand.
As for Chanel’s allegations that the retailer has “gone out of its way to create an association with Chanel” that does not exist through false implications, which it said are “misleading to customers,” Weisser and Maione contended, “There is nothing ambiguous or confusing in our business model.
“Chanel’s claims to the contrary only evidence a desire to control the aftermarket for their products,” the founders said. “Indeed, Chanel’s complaint identifies only two instances of allegedly counterfeit offerings and neither is a valid claim — in fact, one is a listing on Amazon which was not placed by us and the other is an authentic Chanel product. We are fully entitled to offer such genuine products on our site, in our stores and to our retail partners.
“We have never misled anyone into believing we have any type of relationship with Chanel or that the merchandise we sell is anything but authentic and valuable.”
The founders added that they intend to “vigorously defend this action and assert our rights against any interference with our successful business.”
A Chanel spokeswoman declined to comment.
What Goes Around operates its own e-commerce web site, five retail stores and works with a number of retailers on a wholesale basis. It indeed does sell a large amount of vintage Chanel products and often uses Chanel trademarks and past advertising campaign images for its social media and its web site. On its site there are about 400 Chanel products on offer, from accessories to apparel.
Chanel is a fierce protector of its trademarks and brand image and has a lot of practice in this type of litigation. Beyond shutting down counterfeiters and the shifty online web sites and marketplaces that sell fake goods, it doesn’t stand for any misuse of its likeness. Last year it successfully sued an independent Michigan retailer to stop it doing business as “Shanel,” the name of which has since been changed.
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