Swatch wins counterfeit case against Manhattan landlord

Swiss watch company Swatch has won a $1.1m judgment in a legal dispute with a landlord in the SoHo area of Manhattan accused of allowing counterfeits to be sold on its premises.

Swatch sued the owners of the property at 375 Canal Street in Manhattan after discovering that counterfeits of its Omega watch brand were being sold by a leaseholder there, claiming that the landlord was aware of the activity and was therefore liable.

Canal Street is well known for its collection of tightly-packed storefronts selling counterfeit and fake luxury labels, so the ruling will no doubt send a shockwave through other landlords leasing space to sellers of fake goods.

Similar cases have been filed outside the US. A couple of years ago, Louis Vuitton sued a Toronto flea market in a similar case alleging that the landlord of Dr Flea's Flea Market knowingly or negligently allowed the advertisement and sale of fake Louis Vuitton goods that infringed the brand's copyright. The case was considered the first of its kind in Canada.

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