Gucci Sues Credit Card Processors For Trademark Infringement

from the that's-a-stretch... dept

Rose M. Welch alerts us to the news that Gucci America has decided to sue a bunch of credit card processors for trademark infringement. Why? Because they processed the credit cards of some online sites that happened to sell fake Gucci bags. This, of course, makes no sense. None of the credit card companies were actually violating Gucci's trademarks at all, and I can't see how they can show those firms actually "used" its trademarks in commerce. This seems like a pure money grab. Gucci already received an award of $5.2 million from the site that used these credit card processors, so this just seems like going after more cash for the same issue, but suing companies further up the chain. I can't see Gucci having much success here, but it reminds us that there really ought to be a Section 230-style safe harbor for trademarks as well.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Ima Fish (profile), Aug 12th, 2009 @ 1:42pm

    More and more this site is turning into the Onion, without the satire. Sad really.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2009 @ 1:56pm

    Next up are the landlords of the offices rented by these processors...

    Followed by the banks used by the landlords of the offices rented by these processors...

    Followed by the customers of the banks used by the landlords of the offices rented by these processors...

    Followed by the companies that made the cars driven by the customers of the banks used by the landlords of the offices rented by these processors...


    If only there really were a hole in the bottom of the sea for some of these lawyers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 12th, 2009 @ 1:56pm

    Please

    There is SUCH an easy solution to this problem.

    Just make any person/business bringing any civil lawsuit that gets tossed out pay 10% of their asking price in the suit into the nearest public education system and be done with it.

    You want to sue everyone and everything just to see what sticks? Fine. But the only one getting stuck will be you....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    BullJustin (profile), Aug 12th, 2009 @ 2:01pm

    Re: Please

    I like this idea

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2009 @ 2:13pm

    Actually, as visa / mastercard profited from the sales, they should return the amounts they have kept. the 2 or 3% of the transactions would run into the 6 figures.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Someantimalwareguy, Aug 12th, 2009 @ 2:14pm

    Re: Please

    Actually it would be more interesting for the loser in a lawsuit to be responsible for reimbursing the winner of the suit for all expenses they incurred linked to the suit. This means not just legal fees...

    JMHO

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    washii (profile), Aug 12th, 2009 @ 2:17pm

    Re:

    Except I'm fairly sure the credit processors performed in good faith. The fake Gucci websites? Not so much.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    shmengie, Aug 12th, 2009 @ 2:24pm

    that does it...

    i will never buy another gucci jockstrap again!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    PRMan, Aug 12th, 2009 @ 2:38pm

    Re: Re: Please

    "Actually it would be more interesting for the loser in a lawsuit to be responsible for reimbursing the winner of the suit for all expenses they incurred linked to the suit. This means not just legal fees..."

    Then corporations would win all lawsuits against little guys. I think the loser should pay the lower of the 2 sets of legal fees to the winner. That way, the little guy is only out twice the value of his (somewhat meager) attorney bills, but the large corporation does get dinged with "fishing suits" such as the RIAA ones.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    Chuck (profile), Aug 12th, 2009 @ 2:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Please

    Just don't get legal representation, and you don't have to pay anything!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 12th, 2009 @ 2:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Please

    "Just don't get legal representation, and you don't have to pay anything!"

    Hello, my name is Ridiculously High Court Fees....I don't think we've met.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    Sean T Henry (profile), Aug 12th, 2009 @ 2:56pm

    Re: Re: Please

    Same here, but if the organization tries to spin it as a charitable act they should be fined 7 times the amount originally fined.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2009 @ 2:59pm

    Re:

    They forgot suing the takeout restaurant that delivered food to the people that were selling fake Gucci products.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2009 @ 3:11pm

    Re: Re:

    That's true - they wouldn't have been able to work late hours manufacturing fake Gucci products without Dong Hong Wong's Kung Pao chicken. Clearly Dong Hong Wong profited from the sale of fake Gucci products, and should be liable.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2009 @ 3:42pm

    Re: that does it...

    I will never buy a Gucci product, period. When I buy something, I buy quality, not a name. Sometimes the name is synonymous with quality, but not always. I refuse to pay ridiculous amounts of money for something based purely on the name alone, especially when the name is on the face of a company that is so consumed with greed that they resort to these tactics to pad their own pockets, instead of earning an honest living. Maybe if they would come down off their pedestal and charge reasonable prices for their products, then perhaps the market for fake knock-offs would shrink considerably or even disappear. But heaven forbid they actually make any smart business decisions.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    icon
    DJ (profile), Aug 12th, 2009 @ 5:38pm

    Re: Please

    Honestly asking: is there no law against this sort of action? If there is, the punishment needs to be something more like 50% of NET profits for the next 10 years go to the nearest public education system.

    Deters corporations from doing this, and gives education a serious fund boost if there are convictions. Two birds and all that...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    DJ (profile), Aug 12th, 2009 @ 5:43pm

    Better idea

    Let's just get to the heart of the matter, here. Whether you vote Dem or Rep, start paying attention to the people for whom you are voting. That way maybe...just maybe...we can get some good laws passed -- and bad ones removed -- without the legislators being so damned concerned with how much money their pet parrot's great-grandchicks are going to have.

    /tangent

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    icon
    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Aug 12th, 2009 @ 6:08pm

    Please & Better Idea

    I'm all for punishing the purveyors of bullshit lawsuits everywhere, but surely there's a better place to dump a ton of money into than the public school system. They've done so much with so little already.

    How about just dividing it up among the members of the local community to do with as they see fit. Imagine thousands of cheering locals rooting for the suit to get tossed out of court. The judges doing that would be like gods.

    Of course, some good would go out with the bad, depending on each judge's prediliction for popularity, but it should trim down the number of filings nearly immediately.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    trilobug, Aug 12th, 2009 @ 6:43pm

    Re:

    Tell me about it, apparently that's the world we live in.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2009 @ 6:51pm

    Re: Re:

    If the credit card processors don't look at the businesses they process for, they should be somewhat liable.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    Tek'a R (profile), Aug 12th, 2009 @ 11:11pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    card processors are not in the business of screening people and imagining theoretical futures where they are responsible for the actions of others.

    I would assume that the only liability, if any at All for a processing company is in making sure they have factual information and keep records on who they do business with to avoid fraud, and thats it.

    If you allow this wooly-minded and backwards thinking, what will be next?

    "Bed, Bath and So-on is responsible for this murder, because they sold a knife set that the killer received as a wedding present"

    "Radio-Hovel should have known.. only a Terrorist would buy a pair of alligator clips and a pack of AA batteries. Officer, round up these clerks, they obviously knew exactly what the madman had planned all along"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 13th, 2009 @ 5:30am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No, you miss the point. If Visa got an application from "90% off Gucci Bags", mail order only, perhaps they might have wanted to ask the quick question about the legality of the products being sold.

    Remember, unlike a landlord, Visa very directly profits from every transaction, so they have a financial benefit to being specifically blind. They took in a couple of hundred thousand dollars for processing for stolen / illegal merchandise.

    It isn't question of how a legal product was used (your two examples) but how an illegal product was sold. Do you think that Visa and Mastercard should knowingly be allowed to process for drug dealers?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    icon
    Almost Anonymous (profile), Aug 13th, 2009 @ 10:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    First, do you really think they named their company "Blatant Obvious Rip-Off Website"?

    Second, I am at a complete loss as to why a credit-card processing center should have to screen (or really any other kind of due diligence) their customers. In my opinion, they should never even know what the "goods" are, they should only know "we request this sum, do they have it?"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    ApplyCreditCard-Online.com, Aug 13th, 2009 @ 3:27pm

    Spot-on

    Your comment "none of the credit card companies were actually violating Gucci's trademarks at all..." is spot-on.

    Perhaps the credit card processors can be made liable for approving the online merchant.

    The matter could be complicated further if the credit card processors are aware of the online merchant business activities.

    Nonetheless, most probably the online merchant does not reveal their true intent when the application was made.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Learstiphen, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 8:07am

    Liable to

    I like this idea very much. If the credit card processors don't look at the commerce they process for, they should be somewhat liable for this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This