Confusion Over Liability Extends To The Real World, Rather Than Just Online

from the sue-sue-sue-sue dept

Reader jjmsan alerts us to a story that shows that various luxury brands suing service providers rather than those actually responsible doesn't just happen online, but can happen offline as well. Apparently, luxury goods maker Coach is suing the city of Chicago, because some vendors were selling counterfeit goods at the Maxwell Street Market. I'm at a loss as to why suing the city makes any sense at all. In response to the original complaints, the city sent police officers to the market, and actually arrested those selling counterfeit goods (why this is a criminal, rather than a civil, matter is left as an exercise to the reader). Either way, rather than recognize that the city appeared to be more than willing to work with Coach, the company sent a legal threat letter demanding that the city proactively crackdown on counterfeits. When that failed, Coach sued the city. Hopefully the courts will recognize the ridiculousness of suing the city, rather than focusing on the vendors actually responsible.

Filed Under: chicago, counterfeit, liability
Companies: coach

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  1. identicon
    qwerty, 27 May 2010 @ 11:54am

    contributory/vicarious infringement

    It sounds as though the Supreme Court's decision in Fonovisa, Inc. v. Cherry Auction, 76 F.3d 259 (9th Cir. 1996), is likely the basis for suing the city. If the city is the operator of the Maxwell Street Market, it may be held responsible for the sale of counterfeit goods depending on the control it exerts over the market and its knowledge of such sales.

    Not that I agree with it or think it is a good idea to sue the city.


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