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LVMH Sues Landlord Over Counterfeits

Canalhandbags_2The International Council of Shopping Center reports that French luxury conglomerate LVMH has sued a New York landlord of a retailer it alleges sold knockoffs of its goods. This follows a similar suit LVMH filed last year against Wet Seal for selling knockoff Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs bags.

If you're a marketplace - whether an online market like Grokster or an offline market like Canal Street - you will not be able to blithely ignore evidence of illegal sales and later seek to avoid responsibility by pointing to disclaimers and reasoning you had no knowledge that illegal activity was occurring. The days of being a passive conduit are ending.

Today, LVMH's value is being driven by aggressively buying luxury brands, raising money by selling its $1.1 billion stake in Diageo and cracking down on pirates wherever they set up shop. LVMH, like other property owners, appears to be investing in heretofore unexplored ways of monitoring their brand. It wouldn't surprise me to see a similar uptick in anti-counterfeiting wardrives by music labels and cable operators to identify local retail establishments that are engaging in IP theft.

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