Chanel says Houston company selling fake products

By Annie Cosby | Jan 16, 2015

Chanel Inc. is suing over claims a Houston company is continuing to sell counterfeit products using Chanel's trademarks.

Chanel Inc. filed a lawsuit Nov. 4 in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas against Hernandez International Inc., doing business as Alex Trading, Leticia Luquez Cordero, David Hernandez and Does 1-10, citing trademark infringement.

According to the complaint, in November 2013, Chanel discovered Alex Trading was selling counterfeit products bearing various marks indistinguishable from or confusingly similar to marks owned by Chanel and used to identify Chanel’s high-quality sunglasses, jewelry, scarves, hair accessories, fragrance, cosmetics and other goods. Chanel says on Nov. 16, 2013, law enforcement served a search warrant at two locations in Houston where Alex Trading was operating and counterfeit products bearing the marks of various luxury brands were seized, including 261 units of products bearing Chanel marks, including watches, fragrance products, scarves, earrings, sunglasses, handbags, T-shirts and metal labels.

The complaint states Cordero and Hernandez are owners or managing agents of Alex Trading and the active forces behind the infringement, but after the November 2013 seizure and receipt of a cease and desist notice from Chanel, they have continued their infringing activities. According to the lawsuit, on June 13, Chanel’s investigator performed a compliance check at Alex Trading and discovered the sale of counterfeit Chanel bracelets and fragrance products, proving the defendants have engaged in the counterfeiting activities knowingly.

The defendants are accused of federal trademark counterfeiting, federal trademark infringement, false designation of origin and false designations, federal trademark dilution, injury to business reputation or trademark, and common law trademark infringement and unfair competition.

Chanel seeks punitive damages, an order granting injunctive relief enjoining the defendants from selling counterfeit products or engaging in any other unfair competition, including the use of design elements associated with Chanel, and an order directing the defendants to recall from distributors and retailers and to deliver to Chanel for destruction, all remaining counterfeit products. Chanel also seeks an order directing the defendants to disclose their suppliers and manufacturers of the counterfeit products and provide all correspondence, receipts, and invoices associated with the purchase of counterfeit products.

Finally, the plaintiff seeks an assessment of damages suffered and an award of all profits that the defendants have gained from the infringing activity, in addition to costs and attorney fees. Alternatively, Chanel seeks statutory damages of up to $2 million per trademark counterfeited and infringed, per type of good.

It is represented by attorneys Brent H. Blakely and Cindy Chan of Blakely Law Group in Manhattan Beach, California.

Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas case number: 4:14-CV-03144

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