Louis Vuitton Combats Online Counterfeiting Before a Florida Court
Louis Vuitton is suing 23 natural and legal persons in Florida for various infringements of its trademarks (Case 0: 18-cv-62354-CMA). Not less than 120 domain names and websites are concerned. Some domain names reproduce Louis Vuitton trademarks (eg louisvuittonbag.site, uslouisvuitton.co, prezzi-lvborse.org), while others include a term indicating the likely presence of counterfeits (eg: aaaimitationbags.com, fashionfakeseason.com, buycheapreplicahandbags.com). Not surprisingly, there are also domain names associating a Louis Vuitton trademark with the vocabulary of counterfeiting (eg: replicalouisvuitton.com, louisvuittonsuisseoutlet.cn). Most domain names are gTLDs, although there are some ccTLDs (eg beltfr.cn, louisvuittonsuisseoutlet.cn, saobm.co.uk, uslouisvuitton.co).
In its complaint, Louis Vuitton declares:
“In order to combat the indivisible harm caused by the combined actions of Defendants and others engaging in similar conduct, each year Louis Vuitton expends significant resources in connection with trademark enforcement efforts, including legal fees, investigative fees, and support mechanisms for law enforcement, such as field training guides and seminars. The exponential growth of counterfeiting over the Internet has created an environment that requires Louis Vuitton to file a number of lawsuits, often it later turns out, against the same individuals and groups, in order to protect both consumers and itself from the ill effects of confusion and the erosion of the goodwill connected to the Louis Vuitton brand” (para 6).
Concerning these proceedings, Louis Vuitton states that the defendants have in common to reside in China and to have registered the domain names with the same domain name registrar, which has its headquarter in the United States (para 7 ).
To put an end to the offenses, Louis Vuitton demands the judge:
- to enjoin the defendants to cease all use of its trademarks and, not only the defendants but also third parties to cease hosting, facilitating access to, or providing any supporting service to any and all domain names, including but not limited to the subject domain names, and websites;
- to entry of an order “canceling or, at Louis Vuitton’s election, transferring the subject domain names and any other domain names used by Defendants to engage in their counterfeiting of the Louis Vuitton trademarks at issue to Louis Vuitton’s control“; and
- to entry of an order “requiring defendants, their agent(s) or assign(s), to instruct all search engines to permanently delist or deindex the subject domain names and, if within five (5) days of entry of such order Defendants fail to make such a written instruction, the Court order the act to be done by another person appointed by the Court at Defendants’ expense“.
As for the damages, Louis Vuitton demands the judge:
- “to entry of an order requiring Defendants to account to and pay Louis Vuitton for all profits and damages resulting from Defendants’ trademark counterfeiting and infringing activities and that the award to Louis Vuitton be trebled (…) or, at Louis Vuitton’s election (…), that Louis Vuitton be awarded statutory damages from each Defendant in the amount of two million dollars ($2,000,000.00) per each counterfeit trademark used and product sold“; and
- to “all profits and damages resulting from those Defendants’ cybersquatting activities and that the award to Louis Vuitton be trebled (…) or, at Louis Vuitton’s election (…) that Louis Vuitton be awarded statutory damages from the relevant Defendants in the amount of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.00) per cybersquatted domain name“.