Meta, Christian Louboutin file joint suit against counterfeiter

Meta and Christian Louboutin have taken legal action against an individual running a counterfeiting operation from Mexico in violation of the social media giant’s terms of service.

The defendant – identified in court documents as Cesar Octavio Guerrero Alejo of Culiacán, Sinaloa – is accused of using digital platforms, including Facebook and Instagram, to promote the sale of counterfeits, including Christian Louboutin-branded shoes, handbags, and accessories.

The lawsuit, filed in the Northern District of California, claims that he had Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp accounts disabled by Meta for violation of intellectual property but despite those efforts set up others so he could continue to sell counterfeits on the platforms. The suit has been filed after ampother round of account closure on November 16.

Shoppers working undercover for Christian Louboutin made test purchases from the accounts, determining that the goods received were counterfeit, materially different and infringed the company’s trademarks, with multiple references to the brand.

“Since at least June 2020, Defendant has used a web of Facebook and Instagram accounts to promote his business in violation of the Terms,” according to the complaint. “On his Facebook and Instagram accounts and Facebook Pages, Defendant offered for sale branded, luxury “clothes and accessories for women and men” to consumers and resellers and promised “100% secure shipments” “to all of Mexico and the United States.”

In a statement, Meta director and associate general counsel Jessica Romero, said that the company has “implemented robust IP protection measures across our technologies, including proactive detection and enforcement, a global notice-and-takedown program and policies to suspend repeat infringers.”

She added that company has a team of trained professionals removing infringing content in multiple languages, which took down more than 1.7m pieces of content on Facebook and Instagram in response to more than 180,000 counterfeit reports, and more than 115mm pieces of content before it was reported by a rights holder.

“This lawsuit is a clear signal to those who would seek to engage in similar abuses that this behaviour will not be tolerated,” said Romero. “Meta and Christian Louboutin plan to continue their enforcement efforts against counterfeiting and hold those who abuse our policies accountable.”

Meta collaborated with Gucci in 2021 on a similar type of IP infringement case.

Last year, the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) nominated Facebook owner Meta for listing in the Notorious Markets report drawn up by the US Trade Representative (USTR), saying there was a “proliferation of fraudulent advertisements and the abundance of counterfeit products” on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

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