Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal Affirms Judgment Against Web Host of Sites That Sell Counterfeit Merchandise


Sep 30, 2011, 11:19 ET from Louis Vuitton

NEW YORK, Sept. 30, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Louis Vuitton Malletier, S.A. ("Louis Vuitton"), part of LVMH, the world's leading luxury group, announced today that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal recently sustained the contributory liability and statutory damage award as against both appellants in the suit it filed in 2007 against the California based Internet hosting business of Akanoc Solutions, Inc., Managed Solutions Group, Inc., and Steven Chen (the "Akanoc Defendants").

On August 28, 2009, a jury found each of the Akanoc Defendants separately liable for contributory trademark and copyright infringement, and awarded statutory damages.  Thereafter, the trial court confirmed Akanoc Solutions, Inc. and Steve Chen (the "Appellants") liability and entered a permanent injunction against them regarding sales of Louis Vuitton merchandise on sites hosted by them.

The Ninth Circuit affirmed the jury award and judgment of statutory damages, held that the Appellants' liability is joint and several rather than separate.  The award consists of $700,000 for willful infringement as against the Defendants for each of 15 trademarks infringed and the statutory maximum of $150,000 for each of two copyrights infringed on websites hosted by Defendants.

Valerie Sonnier, Global Intellectual Property Director of Louis Vuitton said: "We are gratified that the Court of Appeal affirmed the verdict and judgment of the District Court in its key aspects.  This decision is a welcome advance by the Courts in clarifying the application of contributory liability standards in the trademark context and demonstrating the potentially serious consequences for those failing to meet them.  Defendants' business model, designed to shelter illegal online conduct was properly condemned by the jury whose hard work was recognized and affirmed by the Court of Appeal.  It is of utmost importance for the stability and reliability of Internet, that online intermediaries effectively contribute to the fight against illicit behavior and share responsibilities."

About Louis Vuitton

Founded in Paris in 1854, Louis Vuitton has been synonymous with the art of travel. Its iconic trunks and luggage have accompanied journeys throughout time. True to the pioneer spirit of its origins, Louis Vuitton consistently breaks new ground in art, architecture, fashion and design. Louis Vuitton has been part of LVMH, the world's most prestigious luxury goods group headed by Bernard Arnault since 1987.

With the arrival of Artistic Director Marc Jacobs in 1997, Louis Vuitton extended its expertise to ready-to-wear, shoes, accessories, watches and jewellery, available in its exclusive network of stores located in over sixty countries. Combining traditional craftsmanship with flair, innovation, and sophistication, Louis Vuitton offers an unexpected and complete lifestyle experience.

Ruth Pachman/Jim Fingeroth
Kekst and Company

SOURCE Louis Vuitton