Coming at you this week with one more reflection on the Chanel v. What Goes Around Comes Around case – which I have tried to keep pretty brief for now. As you likely already know, on Tuesday, a jury in the Southern District of New York sided with Chanel on all four of its causes of action: trademark infringement, false association, and unfair competition based on WGACA’s use of Chanel marks and other brand indicia, as well as hashtags; trademark infringement, false association, and unfair competition based on WGACA’s sale/offering for sale on non-genuine Chanel products; trademark infringement based on WGACA’s sale/offering for sale of counterfeit goods; and false advertising, and awarded Chanel $4 million in statutory damages “for its claim for trademark infringement based on WGACA’s sale or offering for sale of Chanel-branded handbags bearing counterfeit trademarks.”
As for next steps, the parties will present evidence related to “equitable remedies, such as disgorgement and injunctive relief” exclusively to the judge, with Chanel slated to file its brief on the matter within 30 days of the jury verdict.
The immediate aftermath of the trial has brought with it no shortage of commentary about how this will broadly impact the secondary market – with most of the chatter suggesting that the verdict will serve as a significant blow to resellers and their ability to offer up pre-owned goods. I am not sure I buy into the overly pessimistic view because to some extent, this case involved some arguably obvious no-no’s.
For instance, WGACA was found to be selling bags bearing counterfeit marks while also offering up hundreds of point-of-sale items (think: vanity trays, tissue boxes, etc.) that were meant exclusively for use in Chanel stores and were never authorized for sale (something that has been contested by WGACA).