Chanel is suing What Goes Around Comes Around (WGACA) for trademark infringement, claiming the vintage retailer has sold counterfeit Chanel goods and “gone out of its way to create an association with Chanel” that does not exist.
According to Chanel’s complaint, WGACA does this “by making repeated and unnecessary use of Chanel’s famous trademarks” on its website and social accounts; “by posting images and content exclusively associated with Chanel;” and by selling products, such as Chanel-branded tissue box covers, which “are not authorized for sale to the public.”
Why WGACA “would attempt to deceive or mislead consumers in this fashion is obvious,” says Chanel. “WGACA understands that the value of its inventory and attraction for consumers increases significantly if consumers believe that Chanel has a business relationship with WGACA and approves and/or confirms the authenticity of the products WGACA sells.”
According to the complaint, WGACA “relies solely on its own purported expertise or that of undisclosed third parties” for authentication — a process that “has not been authorized or approved” by Chanel and thus makes WGACA’s Guarantee of Authenticity “false and misleading.”
WGACA’s site currently lists over 300 Chanel items for sale, from clothing and jewelry to bags and novelty items like pencil sets and snow globes.
Chanel is seeking damages up of up to $2 million for each instance of trademark infringement, unfair competition, and false endorsement by WGACA.
“Chanel will not tolerate any parties who falsely imply a relationship or partnership with Chanel as these deceptive practices are grossly misleading to customers, and damaging to Chanel’s hard-earned brand reputation,” a company spokeswoman told WWD.
“This complaint demonstrates Chanel’s strong and unwavering commitment to protecting its brand reputation and ensuring that consumers seeking to purchase Chanel products from unauthorized distribution channels will not be deceived or mislead by false marketing or advertising efforts which imply that anyone other than Chanel can guarantee the authenticity of Chanel products,” the company spokeswoman added.
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