There Goes the Neighborhood
Canal Street in New York will no longer be a regular stop for tourists seeking to purchase fakes if Louis Vuitton's parent company, LVMH, has its way. The legal strategy of holding landlords responsible for illegal activity that takes place on their premises has yielded another settlement, with a group of landlords last week agreeing not only to prevent sale of counterfeit Vuitton handbags but also to hang warning signs and to allow monitors access to the shops.
While LVMH has not yet convinced American authorities to penalize the buyers of counterfeits, as French and Italian officials began doing last year, the luxury goods manufacturer certainly wants consumers to think twice. Following the settlement, Nathalie Moulle-Berteaux, intellectual property director for LVMH's fashion group, said:
Those seeking to purchase counterfeit Louis Vuitton goods on Canal Street must now face the danger of following a stranger down a dark alley or stairway to a hidden room, which serves as both a deterrent to shoppers who fear for their safety and a strong reminder that the sale of counterfeits is a crime.
Interesting perspective for a company that spends millions of advertising dollars creating demand for limited-edition items among female consumers. No word on whether LVMH will actually be posting scary-looking goons down those dark alleys to deter illicit sales.
P.S. Thanks to the bloggers of ShangriLaw (esp. La Dulcinea), Blingdom of God, and Stereoette for sending me several links on the settlement last week, as well as two articles in the Wall Street Journal this morning!