Chanel Wages Legal Battle With Luxury Vintage Store What Goes Around Comes Around

Chanel is living up to its reputation as a vigorous defender of its luxury image and related trademarks.

The high-end fashion label last week filed suit against What Goes Around Comes Around — a seller of secondhand luxury merchandise online and at its outposts in New York, Los Angeles and Miami — alleging trademark infringement, false advertising, unfair competition and false endorsement.

“This complaint demonstrates Chanel’s strong and unwavering commitment to protecting its brand reputation and ensuring that consumers seeking to purchase Chanel products from unauthorized distribution channels will not be deceived or misled by false marketing or advertising efforts which imply that anyone other than Chanel can guarantee the authenticity of Chanel products,” a spokesperson for the brand told FN in an email statement regarding the lawsuit.

Filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, the litigation alleges that the popular vintage goods seller has sold “counterfeit Chanel-branded point-of-sale items, including a counterfeit handbag and fake Chanel-branded tissue box cover.”

The suit also calls out What Goes Around Comes Around, which lists more than 400 Chanel-branded items on its site, for allegedly “using Chanel advertisements and trademarks in social media, referring to secondhand Chanel products as “our #WGACACHANEL” or “our vintage #WGACACHANEL” products…”

In response to the suit, WGACA cofounders Seth Weisser and Gerard Maione, who also serve as its chief executive and chief creative officers, told WWD that Chanel’s allegations are “unfounded.”

“We take meticulous care in sourcing our authentic offerings,” Weisser and Maione told WWD. “Our team has 25 years of training and knowledge in identifying genuine product and we offer only product that has been fully vetted by us.”

A spokesperson for Chanel, however, said the retailer “is not an authorized distributor or retailer of Chanel products” and is therefore unable to authenticate genuine Chanel merchandise.

“Chanel will not tolerate any parties who falsely imply a relationship or partnership with Chanel, as these deceptive practices are grossly misleading to customers and damaging to Chanel hard-earned brand reputation,” the spokesperson said.

Weisser and Maione, who told WWD that they plan to “vigorously defend” the suit, said the brand’s actions are evidence of “a desire to control the aftermarket for their products.”

Chanel’s suit seeks — among other things, monetary damages — three times the profits WGACA realized from its alleged infringement and a permanent injunction prohibiting the retailer from selling products that bear the Chanel trademark.

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