The Paris Court of Appeals has ordered Chanel to pay up. World Tricot, one of its former knitwear suppliers, brought a suit against the large design house in 2005 for counterfeiting, among other claims. On Friday, the Court of Appeals overturned part of the lower court's 2009 decision that Chanel was not guilty of copying the design for a crochet vest, and ordered Chanel to pay the now-bankrupt World Tricot $250,000.
In 2005, Carmen Colle of World Tricot brought a $3.7 million lawsuit against the French design house alleging that Chanel stole an idea she proposed for a knitwear design, breached existing contracts it had with World Tricot, and wrongful terminated the business relationship. Colle claimed that Chanel rejected the crochet design only to use it months later in a Chanel collection. In 2009,
the Paris commercial tribunal court dismissed the alleged counterfeiting claim, holding that Chanel had not stolen the design. The court awarded Colle just under $600,000 for breach of contract as Chanel canceled existing orders after Colle brought the lawsuit arose. Chanel was also awarded a sum of about $300,000 stemming from the “public disparagement” and "smear campaign" that World Tricot had launched against the design house.
The recent ruling overturns the lower court's ruling that Chanel had not misappropriated World Tricot's design. No word yet on whether Chanel will appeal this decision to France’s Supreme Court. More to come ...