Gucci Accidentally Sues Chanel; Gets Restraining Order… Then Apologizes

from the sorry-about-that dept

The various luxury brand companies are pretty quick with trademark lawsuits these days — often going well beyond reason. We’ve seen it time and time again — especially when they sue third parties like Google or eBay. So I guess it shouldn’t be too surprising that in their rush to sue, they don’t always check all the facts… leading to hilarious scenarios like the one brought to our attention where Gucci accidentally sued Chanel and even got a temporary restraining order against the company.

The timeline, as far as I can tell, goes like this. Last year, Chanel and LVMH sued some websites that were selling counterfeit goods. One of those websites was called In a ruling last June, a federal district court in Florida transferred that domain to Chanel, who began using the website to post the court ruling and to post info about other counterfeiting sites. Fair enough (well, I might argue that, but we’ll leave it aside for now).

However, earlier this month, Gucci sued a bunch of sites for trademark infringement — including Apparently whoever put together the lawsuit hadn’t checked out the site since last June, or discovered that Chanel now owned it and it was being used by that company to post anti-counterfeiting info. So, basically Gucci sued Chanel, claiming that its site was selling counterfeit Gucci products. They even had Chanel served as a defendant. On top of that, a district court in Manhattan granted a restraining order against “the website or its owner” barring web hosts or ISPs from working with them. Technically, yes, this could have meant that Chanel couldn’t work with webhosts or ISPs. Of course, Chanel protested and Gucci quickly backed down, admitting “a minor bit of confusion.”

I’m still a bit confused why the judge would totally bar a site from working with a webhost or ISP, but we’ll leave that discussion for another day.

Filed Under:
Companies: chanel, gucci

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Comments on “Gucci Accidentally Sues Chanel; Gets Restraining Order… Then Apologizes”

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Anonymous Coward says:

“On top of that, a district court in Manhattan granted a restraining order against ‘the website or its owner’ barring web hosts or ISPs from working with them. Technically, yes, this could have meant that Chanel couldn’t work with webhosts or ISPs.”

So the owner of the website in question can’t have any website at all? Sounds like a blatant violation of the first amendment. Some judges have no sense of justice.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

it called avoiding legal whackamole. the judge stopped the defendants from just changing names and doing the same thing again. it wasnt aimed at chanel it was aimed at the previous and current operators of other sites. not really a big deal just proof of how many companies are being attacked by counterfeit goods and are taking actions to stop it.

abc gum says:

Re: Re: Re:

“it called avoiding legal whackamole”

– I thought it was called issuing a restraining order. This type of injunction is usually reserved for use in domestic violence or harassment cases, I do not see what the purse maker was fearful of.

“the judge stopped the defendants from just changing names and doing the same thing again”

– I do not see how this stopped the original website owner from doing anything.

“it wasnt aimed at chanel “

– Apparently it was. Intentional or not, the result is the same. It’s like saying “I didn’t mean to aim that gun at you”.

“not really a big deal”

– Oops, sorry about pointing that gun at your head, no big deal ’cause I didn’t pull the trigger.

“just proof of how many companies are being attacked by counterfeit goods and are taking actions to stop it”

– No … what this proves is that companies are quick to accuse with little to no investigation effort knowing that when (not if) they make a mistake it can be easily swept under the rug. They think no harm, no foul. Others think this sort of thing has gone too far.

abc gum says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I thought good lawyers were on top of the situation and kept track of any and all changes, making necessary alterations to their case as required. If I were paying large sums of money to a law firm, that is what I would expect. I suppose that is asking too much.

My other comments were not bait. You thinking they are is interesting.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

So, it’s OK in your eyes that a website is shut down based on the mere accusation of wrongdoing? And that this is done without even checking the *identity* of the current website owner?

I know what you’re trying to get at here, but the application of a restraining order isn’t the issue here. It should be used in appropriate cases, of course. The problem is the way that it was done without even checking that the correct person was being targeted, let alone confirming that a crime had been committed by that person.

“not really a big deal”

Yeah, right. Imagine if it was a small business owner who couldn’t afford to lose even a few days business in today’s climate. Yeah, this time it was a non-critical site for a large multinational business, but shutting down the web presence of a small or home business can be fatal. “Sorry we shut your site down, cost you some critical orders and destroyed your business. We thought you were someone else”. Does that sound like justice for you in cases where no crime is committed?

I’ll ask the question here I always ask in the 3 strikes threads – why do you favour the businesses of large corporations over and above ordinary people trying to make a living?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

the time it takes to go from information to lawsuit takes a while. collecting together a bunch of information to get the same operator shut down on multiple websites takes longer. in the interim, chanel got one taken over not even shut down. it happens. it isnt the same as going after a single website owned by a single businessman. nice try but your logic fails.

abc gum says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“nice try but your logic fails.”

A good law firm would be constantly monitoring the status of the case, including the claims made against the defendant, and update appropriately prior to their court date. Claiming a delay is to blame ignores their responsibility for the resulting problem. There are cases where an apology is insufficient, it appears they got lucky this time.

Nice try, but your excuses fail.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

yes they could spend all their time checking and rechecking every website, doing extensive work each day to monitor content, ownership, hosting, and 100 other items and then never actually ever get a lawsuit filed. you need to come work in the real world. say hi to mike for me.


let me see...counterfeiting

A) a good happens ot be cheaper somehow and of similar enough quality that when they slap someones logo on it it passes for the real deal

B) people that have been engaged in price gouging and ripping people off think they deserve to continue said practices

this is what counterfeiting is about no?

C) Given a choice of a similar or even slightly less quality product thats far cheaper what would people do? PAY more for some item that may only have slightly and i mean slightly better quality at 4-20 times the price.
HRMmmm yup , once people start realizing what counterfeiting does they like it…..

HAHA explain this as i did above and your going to see regular people on a street largely agree with the idea that not all counterfeiting can be bad.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Cool Beans !!!

I had a TechDirt thought when I read the title …

Gucci and Chanel announced today that they would be introducing the licensing of the previous months clothing, perfumes, handbags, hats, pens, automobile editions, and waffles.

Gucci or Chanel Lite –

Gucci or Chanel Ultra Lite –

Gucci or Chanel Gangsta Style –

Even though it would quad their profits, and remove counterfeiting and counterfeit enforcement from the equation. It will never happen it would take away from the brand perception.

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