Louis Vuitton seeks damages from Chinese counterfeiters

Louis Vuitton store frontFrench luxury goods company Louis Vuitton is seeking damages from three people convicted of selling counterfeit versions of its products on Alibaba's Taobao website.

A lawsuit filed in the Haidian district court in Beijing names three people who had been convicted in 2014 for selling fake versions of Louis Vuitton products, says a Reuters report, which notes two of them have the surname Liang and the third is surnamed Han.

While the intent of other lawsuits against Chinese counterfeit rings has often been to disrupt their activities, in this case Louis Vuitton is going after individuals - who are thought to be small-time traders - with a claim for around $38,000 in damages.

The intent appears to be to show that the company is prepared to respond to counterfeiting regardless of the scale of the operation.

The move comes as Alibaba is facing continued criticism of the appearance of listings selling counterfeit products on its e-commerce platforms. The online retailer has been criticised by the US Trade Representative (USTR) for not doing enough to tackle the issue, although it avoided being returned to the agency's Notorious Markets list for 2015.

Alibaba said last month it was adding another 200 full-time staffers to its team charged with tracking down and removing fraudulent listings, which it claims number 2,000 full-time employees at present along with another 3,000 part-time volunteers.

It also appointed former Pfizer deputy security chief Matthew Bassiur to the newly-created position of head of global intellectual property enforcement.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock / TungCheung

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