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Louis Vuitton case postponed

THE hearing of a case in which the luxury-goods maker Louis Vuitton Malletier is suing a local store for selling counterfeit goods was postponed by a court yesterday.

Judges of the Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People's Court said the hearing was postponed because the lawyers for the defendants did not appear. The date for another hearing has yet to be set.

The store, registered as Shanghai Zhongwen Trade Co Ltd and located in a small lane on Shaanxi Road S, caught Louis Vuitton's eye when Canadian singer Celine Dion shopped there on April 10 last year, picking up about 50 counterfeit products, including bogus LV goods, before her concert in the city, claimed the plaintiff.

Louis Vuitton sued the store's owners, a Taiwanese man surnamed Lin, and his wife Wu Beiwen, who is from Shanghai. The plaintiff is seeking 1 million yuan (US$146,159) in damages.

The plaintiff claimed, on August 2, 2008, police took a number of counterfeit goods from hidden cabinets in the store, including 55 counterfeit items with the LV trademark and 237 counterfeit items branded Chanel, Gucci and Rolex. The total amount the shop was charging for the goods was 1.63 million yuan.

After they were arrested, the couple told police they began selling fake luxury goods in 2000. They were fined by the local market watchdog in December 2002 and in June 2004 for selling counterfeit goods but weren't arrested because their business revenue was below 50,000 yuan, the minimum amount for counterfeit traders to be sent to prison.

"The defendants did not have any regrets after they were fined, but sold even more counterfeits," the plaintiff states. "This is evidence that they deliberately misused the Louis Vuitton trademark."

Eight years of sales of counterfeit goods have caused a huge loss to Louis Vuitton but brought a great deal of profit to the defendants, accused the plaintiff. The couple have bought at least four properties in downtown Jing'an District, valued at more than 20 million yuan, the plaintiff claimed.


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