NEW YORK — Hermes has scored a victory in its battle against knockoffs.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has reversed a lower court ruling that would have permitted the continued sale of copies of Hermes’s status leather goods by two New York retailers, Lederer de Paris Fifth Avenue and Artbag Creations, noting a knockoff “harms the public” and causes “post-sale confusion.” Neither retailer could be reached for comment.
In 1998, Hermes brought suit against the two retailers in an effort to stop their sales of a whole range of Hermes products, including the famous Kelly bag, but the lower court ruled that Hermes had unreasonably delayed bringing an infringement suit against the retailers and thus it barred the fashion house from obtaining monetary or injunctive relief against the stores.
However, the Second Court of Appeals ruling, issued July 10, found the delay is irrelevant where copying is intentional, because of the harmful effects on the public.
Even though the two retailers did not use the Hermes name in the products, but passed them off as copies, the Court said that such a practice creates “post-sale confusion, not just among high-end consumers, but among the general public, which may believe the knockoff is actually the genuine article.”

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