On Wednesday, Chanel filed a lawsuit in New York federal court against vintage retailer What Goes Around Comes Around (WGACA), claiming trademark infringement, false advertising, unfair competition, and violation of the New York Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
In a statement made to WWD, a Chanel spokeswoman said that “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.”
WGACA denies any wrongdoing on their part and plans to fight back. “We assure you that nothing can be further from the truth,” said Frank Bober, Vice Chairman of What Goes Around Comes Around, in an emailed statement. “We believe the allegations are completely unfounded and we intend to vigorously defend ourselves.”
WGACA’s website currently lists over 300 Chanel items for sale and the brand’s Social channels, including Instagram, are full of Chanel imagery — for runway, to product shots, to vintage campaign images.
Chanel is fiercely protective of its trademarks and brand image and has a lot of practice in this type of litigation. The brand is seeking up to $2 million for each alleged offense/violation, although legal experts say that even if they do prevail in court, they are unlikely to receive such a large amount. Still, any judgement levied against WGACA would likely be extremely damaging.
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