Blawgletter marvels at the audacity of people who make, import, and sell knock-offs of famous brands of what you call luxury goods — mostly purses and watches but lots of other high-end, show-off stuff, too.
We suspect they know that the wages of their trademark rip-off sin will run steep — but only if Louis Vuitton or Gucci or Rolex or Hello Kitty catches them.
Well, LV did snag a couple of these audacious types. And pay they did. After giving LV a good deal of run-around, partly because of federal criminal charges against them, the ersatz designer handbag hawkers met their Doom before The Hon. Alvin K. Hellerstein, U.S.D.J., who granted summary judgment to LV on liability, damages, and fees.
The appeal posed some issues that the Second Circuit panel disposed of in a summary order. The other two — whether Judge Hellerstein erred in refusing to postpone Judgment Day pending the outcome of the criminal case and whether he messed up in awarding $3 million in statutory damages and $.5 million in attorneys' fees — formed the subject matter of the opinion the panel published.
The panel affirmed Judge Hellerstein in all respects. Louis Vuitton Malletier S.A. v. LY USA, Inc., No. 08-4483-cv (2d Cir. Mar. 29, 2012). The district court had vast discretion on the question of staying the case or not until a jury convicted or acquitted the defendants, the panel said. And abuse it he did not, in part because LV deserved a reasonably quick resolution and so did the purse-buying public. On the second question, the panel saw no reason to second-guess Judge Hellerstein's award of statutory damages and fees, even on summary judgment.
"Louis Vuitton is a French fashion house founded in 1854." Id. at 6.
The defendants "were convicted principally of charges related to a mark registered by Burberry Limited, not Louis Vuitton." Id. at 22.
Calling fees that a firm earns for representing a client "attorneys' fees" instead of "attorney fees" or "attorney's fees" seems to the panel "likely more accurate". Id. at 3 n.1.