Fashionista reported today that Chanel has sued reseller What Goes Around Comes Around for selling mock Chanel mirrors and memorabilia with unauthorized usage of their logo.
What Goes Around Comes Around has brick and mortar stores in Manhattan, Los Angeles, Miami and the Hamptons, but maybe more known for having an e-commerce site that sells a lot of secondhand Chanel. Like, pages and pages of vintage Chanel.
The luxury fashion house filed a lawsuit against WGACA in New York on Wednesday alleging counterfeiting and trademark infringement, false advertising, unfair competition and false endorsement. Among Chanel’s claims are that WGACA is misleading its customers into believing it has an official relationship with Chanel. According to the filing, WGACA “has attempted to deceive consumers into falsely believing that Defendant WGACA has some kind of approval of or relationship or affiliation with Chanel or that Chanel has authenticated WGACA’s goods in order to trade off of Chanel’s brand and good will.” The filing points out that WGACA “purports to sell genuine Chanel-branded point-of-sale items including, tissue box covers, trays, and mirrors, which are not authorized for sale to the public by Chanel,” and that Chanel “has explicitly refused WGACA’s requests to enter” into an official relationship or affiliation.
Okay, so they were pissed about a few things, but especially WGACA selling “Chanel-branded” mirrors, trays, and tissue box covers (primary used for decor in the home, of course) that were originally used at cosmetic counters.
I wonder if now that Chanel as a brand understands the magnetism of their CC’s as design elements, they could branch out into home decor.
It would be on-brand, after all. Coco was always designing everything, especially her suite at the Ritz Paris, where she lived from 1934 until her passing in 1971. Designed with the style and sophistication Coco Chanel is known for, the massive suite has that elegant Chanel touch with opulent furnishings—think lacquered screens, gilded mirrors, and a velvet banquette.
Home decor could be good for Chanel—find the Chanel girl and let her design her life just as Chanel would have wanted to live hers: surrounded in opulence with an homage to humble beginnings; a nod to the past with an appreciation for luxury.
Anyway, back to the lawsuit.
Fashionista.com continues to explain
Other alleged offenses include using Chanel marketing materials, images of Chanel-brand products, Chanel advertisements and trademarks on social media, using the hashtag #WGACAChanel and guaranteeing authenticity on items that are not guaranteed by Chanel. Chanel also says it has learned that WGACA has sold counterfeit items, including a handbag and a fake Chanel-branded tissue box cover.
Chanel is using trademark law here because the fashion house thinks that what with all of the luxury branding that’s being used by WGACA, there’s going to be a likelihood of confusion for consumers,” says Above the Law editor Staci Zaretsky. “There’s no relationship to speak of between the two companies, so WGACA’s continued use of Chanel branding is almost offensive.”
Oops. I think this implies that resellers need to be careful when marketing to consumers (especially online) that the item they are buying is secondhand and not related to Chanel’s brand by any means.
Are consumers confused that resellers like What Goes Around Comes Around and any other reseller/consignment shops are associated with the brands they sell?
Is Chanel going to sue every other secondhand site? I can’t blame them from wanting to make people purchase solely from them but I don’t think they can stop people from reselling.
Lesson learned? Maybe, but probably not.
Knowingly selling fakes is illegal, especially at the prices that authentic Chanel items go.
Unfortunately, despite best efforts from brands, lawyers and government agencies alike, counterfeiting is still a huge business; maybe even more with Instagram and WatsApp making it so easy. I get at least 10 followers day that sell “inspired by” designer bags.
It’s not just online. In Asia, there were stores wall to wall with counterfeit, designer-inspired “Louis Vuitton” bags; stall after stall in alleyways in Marrakech, Morocco; on a main shopping street in Mexico, I counted at least three stalls with counterfeit bags.
I understand Chanel defending their brand… but picking on a reputable company that’s selling authentic Chanel products (handbags, etc.) and a few novelty items (Chanel tissue boxes) seems a little like low-hanging fruit.
Maybe going after the larger company offers better safety against potential customers that may think less of Chanel if they have a bad experience with What Goes Around Comes Around?
I’m not sure. Either way, counterfeiting sucks.