Sunday, May 16, 2010

Fendi, Famous Brand Counterfeit, Willfulness, Acquiescence, Laches & Unclean Hands

Fendi Adele S.R.L. v. Ashley Reed Trading, Inc., 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13934 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 16, 2010)

The Plaintiff, the famous Italian fashion design company Fendi sued Defendant, Ashley Reed trading company for selling counterfeit leather handbags. Plaintiff successfully alleged that Defendant sold counterfeit handbags, of a lower quality than the real Fendi brand, willfully and with bad faith. Nordstrom Rack and Off Fifth were among the stores that unwittingly bought the counterfeit Fendi handbags from Ashley Reed. The bags were spotted as counterfeit by the lower quality of leather and the missing hologram Fendi security logos. Defendant failed to meet its burden of proof for acquiescence, laches and unclean hands, in light of repeated cease and desist demands from Plaintiff. Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment was granted as to their request to strike Defendants' affirmative defenses and as to their claims of trademark counterfeiting and false designation of origin under the Lanham Act, common law unfair competition under New York law, and trademark dilution under 15 U.S.C. § 1125(c) and Section 360-l of the New York General Business Law. The Defendants were permanently enjoined under section 43(a) of the Lanham Act from purchasing, offering for sale, or selling any item bearing the word "Fendi" and/or any of Fendi's registered trademarks without the express written permission of Plaintiffs; and it was further ordered that the matter be referred to a Magistrate Judge for a determination as to the appropriateness of an accounting of Defendants' profits and, if warranted, an assessment of Plaintiffs' damages.

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