Vuitton win in Japan, as High Court of Tokyo sentences Junkmania for “brand infringement”

Such use of the brand name was not authorized. Louis Vuitton have won, in Japan, their legal controversy against Junkmania, a well-known footwear and tailored accessories online retailer, which was charged with “unfair competition and brand infringement”. The French fashion brand proved, before the High Court of Tokyo for Intellectual Property, that Junkmania business was violating the Japan Unfair Prevention Act, which forbids the use of “another renowned product or business brand (…) to gain a profit illegally”. Junkmania used to sell their goods (hats, scarves and other) with the Louis Vuitton label stuck on them, without any authorization of the fashion house though. Junkmania claimed that Louis Vuitton’s Japanese clients are fully aware of the brand and well know its customised products; therefore, they obviously would not match the items for sale with the ones of the brand (considering the huge price difference as well), even though they make use of genuine Louis Vuitton materials, which come from second-hand products. Furthermore, they argued that the Louis Vuitton label, stuck on the articles, was not to identify the item itself, but was rather a simple design or ornamental motif. Yet the Court of Tokyo considered that average consumers, while facing the articles, would immediately think of the Louis Vuitton brand; therefore, Junkmania was modifying, without any authorization, the articles made by the French brand, even for commercial purposes. Owing to such unfair competition, the Court sentenced Junkmania, which must compensate Louis Vuitton (compensation amounts to 15,000 US dollars) and must immediately remove all counterfeit goods.

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