The appeal of a Chanel product goes far beyond the product itself, the Paris-based brand alleges in a recently-filed lawsuit. Chanel, which made headlines early this month when it revealed its nearly $10 billion in annual revenue, is alleging in suit filed early this month in a Brooklyn federal court alleging that Ryan Ladijinsky, the individual behind a number of eBay accounts, is selling hundreds of fragrance and beauty products bearing Chanel’s trademarks.
The problem? In addition to not being an authorized seller of Chanel products, Chanel claims that Ladijinsky is selling “used goods, goods that were never intended for sale, and/or goods lacking any packaging or product information,” as well as “testers of Chanel cosmetics, including lip gloss power, and blush; unboxed fragrances and cosmetics; and even used fragrance items.”
By removing the products from their original packaging, Chanel argues that Ladijinsky is depriving consumers of their ability to determine “whether the product they receive has been opened, diluted, or otherwise tampered with after leaving the factory, and [he is also] depriving them of certain essential information, including, ingredient lists.”
But even more than that, Chanel claims that its packing is essential to its “reputation as a premium brand.” As the brand states in its complaint, its “beauty and fragrance products … are renowned for their high quality and are identified not only by the use of the Chanel trademarks but also by the product packaging.”
Chanel further asserts that as “a leader in the field of luxury fashion and beauty, [it] ensures that all of its genuine products in a uniform fashion [that] befits and enhances Chanel’s reputation … and that the products are packaged, displayed, and sold in appealing packaging that enhances the value of the products and that reflects the hard-earned image and reputation of Chanel as a manufacturer and seller of high-end luxury goods.”
“The total packaging … is integral to the product and to the buyer’s experience of Chanel’s products,” says Chanel, as is the manner in which the consumer has access to its products. “Towards that end, only Chanel boutiques and those third-party retailers who are specifically approved by Chanel, following a careful review process, are authorized to sell Chanel beauty and fragrance products.”
The “goal,” according to the brand, “is to ensure a purchasing experience that matches the luxury image of the Chanel brand.”
Since the products that Ladijinsky is selling – even if authentic – lack the proper packaging, they are “materially different from the manner in which genuine Chanel products are sold,” they amount to “infringing products under U.S. trademark law,” the brand argues.
In addition to seeking injunctive relief, which would bar Ladijinsky from selling the products at issue, Chanel is seeking more than $56 million in damages, citing 27 different trademarks that have been infringed, plus … punitive damages for Ladijinsky’s “willful infringement.”
* The case is Chanel, Inc. v. Ladijinsky, 1:18-cv-03829 (E.D.N.Y).