Louis Vuitton Malletier S.A.S. v. Westgate Discount Mall, Inc. et al, Civil Action No. 1:23-cv-01541-VMC (N.D. Ga., Apr. 11, 2023)
French luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton has sued the Westgate Discount Mall for “staggering” trademark counterfeiting involving merchandise bearing Louis Vuitton’s federally registered trademarks.
“Louis Vuitton is the owner of numerous famous federally-registered trademarks, including, but not limited to, the LOUIS VUITTON and LOUIS VUITTON-formative word marks, the Toile Monogram Design mark, the LV Logo Design mark, the Stylized Flower Design marks, the Damier Design mark, the Epi Design mark, and the S-Lock Design mark (collectively, the “Louis Vuitton Trademarks”), which are federally registered for use in conjunction with a variety of goods, including, inter alia, handbags, accessories, and apparel.” Complaint at 5. Nearly all of the registered marks have become incontestable under 15 U.S.C. § 1065.
The Complaint accuses the Westgate Discount Mall of failing to “implement any rules or adopt or employ any practices or procedure that would reduce or eliminate the counterfeiting occurring at the Market.” Id. at 26. The Complaint alleges that, despite their control over the various Tenants, the Westgate owners have allowed counterfeit sales to flourish by turning a blind-eye to the activity. Id. at 2.
In support of its allegation amounting to negligence, Louis Vuitton cites the 30-plus notices sent to the Mall concerning specific incidences of products imported by the Mall but seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the 20-plus hand-served cease and desist letters to various Tenants at the Mall. Further, it cites the 2021 Homeland Security Investigations search warrant that led local law enforcement to seize counterfeit goods at 60 out of the 62 booths at the Mall. “[A] total of eighteen (18) tractor trailer loads of products bearing counterfeit and infringing trademarks were seized during the operation. In all, more than 250,000 products were seized—including over 72,000 items bearing counterfeit and infringing Louis Vuitton Trademarks. The fair market value of the counterfeit Louis Vuitton products seized is in the tens of millions of U.S. dollars.” Id. at 28.
Louis Vuitton brings counts for contributory trademark liability and vicarious liability against the Mall and two individually-named Defendants.
The case has been assigned to Judge Victoria Calvert.
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