Louis Vuitton, the renowned French luxury brand, has filed a lawsuit against Westgate Discount Mall and its owners, Basirou Kebbay and Aaron Kebe, in the U.S. District Court in Atlanta, Georgia. The company accuses the mall of providing a “safe haven” for the sale of counterfeit Louis Vuitton merchandise, as well as products from other well-known brands. The lawsuit seeks multi-millions of dollars in damages.
In the court documents, Louis Vuitton alleges that the mall operators knowingly allowed the sale of counterfeit goods to flourish on a massive scale, despite being repeatedly notified by the company.
The luxury brand claims that the mall’s operators were fully aware of their tenants’ engagement in the sale of counterfeit products but chose to turn a blind eye to the illegal activity. The lawsuit cites numerous occasions where law enforcement agencies seized counterfeit items from tenants at the market, including goods bearing counterfeit Louis Vuitton trademarks. Several of the market’s counterfeiting tenants have been arrested by law enforcement.
Additionally, investigators acting on behalf of Louis Vuitton have served at least 20 cease and desist letters to tenants of the market who were engaged in the sale of products bearing counterfeit Louis Vuitton trademarks. Court documents reveal that in August 2021, one of the largest seizures of goods bearing counterfeit Louis Vuitton trademarks in U.S. history took place.
Over 72,000 items bearing counterfeit and infringing Louis Vuitton trademarks were seized, with a fair market value in the tens of millions of U.S. dollars. In total, more than 250,000 products were seized during the operation, which involved 18 tractor-trailer loads of counterfeit and infringing trademarks.
Louis Vuitton is seeking up to $2,000,000 per counterfeit mark per each type of good, as well as profits resulting from the sale of the alleged fake merchandise. This lawsuit is the latest action taken by the luxury brand in its ongoing battle against counterfeit merchandise.
In 2020, Shanghai police arrested 62 criminal gangs for manufacturing and selling counterfeit Vuitton bags, seizing more than 30 sets of counterfeiting equipment, 2,000 counterfeit bags, and over 100,000 pieces of various raw materials worth more than 100 million renminbi, or $14.6 million.
The lawsuit against Westgate Discount Mall highlights Louis Vuitton’s commitment to protecting its brand and customers from the sale of counterfeit goods. The outcome of this case will likely have significant implications for other luxury brands facing similar challenges in their fight against counterfeiting.
Jeanel has 15 years of retail, marketing and brand management experience. She has started an ecommerce business in 2019, after working in corporate retail and real estate as a senior managing director and former consultant. She's traveled all over the world, speaks at world renowned trade shows and events, holds a Bachelor’s of Commerce (B.Comm) and a Certificate in Commercial Real Estate. You can connect with her on Linkedin.