Trader fined ₹3 lakh for selling fake Louis Vuitton products

HC awarded another ₹9 lakh to luxury brand for expenses incurred in fighting case

The Delhi High Court has imposed a cost of ₹3 lakh on a local trader operating in Sadar Bazar here for dealing in counterfeit products of French luxury brand Louis Vuitton.

Justice Sanjeev Narula held that the trader infringed on the trademark of the company, Louis Vuitton Malletier, by selling counterfeit wallets bearing the company’s mark. The High Court also awarded Louis Vuitton another ₹9 lakh which it accrued while fighting the case, including lawyers’ fees as well as amount spent on court fees.

Infringed on trademark

“The defendants (trader) are found to be guilty of infringing on the plaintiff’s trademark and dealing with counterfeit products,” the High Court said.

“The use of the plaintiff’s trademark by the defendants is certainly not bona fide and is being done only to cause confusion and deception in the mind of the general public and the consumers” it added.

Louis Vuitton Malletier, which opened its first exclusive retail outlet in India in 2003 in New Delhi, had moved the High Court against the trader for selling counterfeit products of the brand. It told the High Court that in addition to the use of the name ‘Louis Vuitton’ as a trademark, the initials of Louis Vuitton, namely ‘LV’, represented in an intertwined manner has also been used as a trademark by the luxury brand since 1890.Louis Vuitton Malletier has been vigilant in protecting and safe-guarding its trademark rights from misuse by third parties, it added.

During a market survey conducted by investigator in September 2011, it came across the premises at Sadar Bazar which was dealing in counterfeit products bearing its registered trademarks.

Before the High Court, the trader admitted to “innocent use” of the name of Louis Vuitton Malletier for the last over 8-9 years. It, however, choose not to participate in the trial.

The Local Commissioners, appointed by the court, who visited the two premises of the trader took into custody the wallets which were bearing the company’s trademark.

Sought ₹1 crore damages

The luxury brand had sought damages of over ₹1 crore stating that the illegal and infringing activities have been going on for the last 8 to 9 years.

However, the High Court said that the reports of the Local Commissioners do not show the extent of the business operations of the trader for the court to arrive at the correct measure to award damages.

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